Phone & cell phone recycling.

  • Some 762,000 cell phones handed in as a result of cell phone collection drives in Germany.
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  • T-Mobile Czech Republic regularly  informs customers on importance of cell phone recycling.
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Deutsche Telekom is involved in the reuse and recycling of old cell phones. Together with its customers, the company makes an important contribution to conserving natural resources and protecting the climate and the environment with these activities. Deutsche Telekom considers reusing used, functional cell phones to be a key component of sustainability, because the extended lifetime of the cell phones means their carbon footprint improves significantly.

Cell Phone Recycling CR KPI.

We have been monitoring the Cell Phone Recycling CR KPI since 2010 in order to emphasize the importance of cell phone recycling. This KPI compares the collected cell phones, measured in units and the equivalent in kilograms, with the number of customers at a Group company.

Information on the development of CR KPIs can be found under Strategy & management.

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According to the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive, it is mandatory for manufacturers of new electrical and electronic devices in Europe to take back old devices at no charge and dispose of them properly. Deutsche Telekom is involved in this process beyond the scope of legal requirements with targeted initiatives for collecting old devices. In order to meet our legal obligations to inform consumers of how to properly dispose of electronic products, we include an informative flyer with each new device.

Data privacy poses a particular challenge when collecting cell phones. Telekom's Data Privacy and Data Security department is involved in the collection system to guarantee data privacy and keep customer data from being abused.

Approximately 762,000 cell phones collected in Germany.

In 2011, we were able to collect a total of around 762,000 cell phones within the scope of a number of initiatives. The proceeds went to the following charitable organizations:

  • BILD hilft e.V. "Ein Herz für Kinder"
  • Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. and
  • German Doctors e.V.

In April 2010, we set ourselves the goal, within the scope of the Changemaker Manifest by Utopia, to collect around 1 million old cell phones within one to two years in Germany for recycling. We achieved this goal at the end of 2011.

Cell phone collection initiatives for "Ein Herz für Kinder."
As part of an extensive cell phone collection initiative, which was conducted by BILD hilft e.V. "Ein Herz für Kinder" between October and December 2011, we were able to collect an additional 500,000 old cell phones compared with the previous year.

  • We kicked off Germany's largest cell phone collection campaign ever in the German TV show "Wetten, dass...?" at the beginning of October 2011. In the show, we bet that we would be able to collect 500,000 or more old cell phones within only ten weeks. At the "Ein Herz für Kinder" gala show in December, host Thomas Gottschalk congratulated us for winning the bet. We managed to collect a total of 585,758 old devices within 10 weeks. Deutsche Telekom donated EUR 2 for each collected cell phone to the "Ein Herz für Kinder" charity. 140 sales and service employees took part in the charity event where they took phone calls from people who wanted to donate their old cell phones.
  • Within the scope of an extensive campaign that took place between October 18 and 25, 2011, we mailed envelopes that could be used to send in old cell phones to Telekom free of charge to a total of 22.7 million households. Additionally, we provided address labels at for download so that users could send back their old cell phones free of charge.
  • On November 15, 2011, the Telekom Truck collected old cell phones at the German national soccer team's game against the Netherlands.

In addition to the cell phone recycling initiative, we launched more campaigns during the year. The proceeds were also included in the sum donated. At the gala event, which was broadcast on ZDF, René Obermann was able to donate a total amount of EUR 1.5 million.

Deutsche Telekom also collects old fixed-line phones and recycles them.

CR Report from the previous year

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Around two-thirds of all German residents have a total of 83 million old or unused cell phones in their homes, a 15 percent increase compared with 2010. This figure is based on a study that was carried out by the German industry association Bitkom in December 2011. These old cell phones could be used in other areas. They also contain valuable raw materials, including metals such as gold, silver and copper that could be recycled.

Metals and ores are often extracted under conditions that are problematic for people and the environment. Because of this, it is very important to collect, reuse and recycle old communications devices. Some of the cell phones returned by customers can be reused after making a few repairs and deleting all personal data. People in Asia or Africa, for example, are then able to purchase fully functioning cell phones at lower prices. Defective devices and cell phones that require extensive repairs or data deletion are recycled.

Supporting non-profit organizations.
Deutsche Telekom's cell phone recycling project not only protects the environment but also promotes non-profit organizations. The proceeds that Deutsche Telekom generates went to different organizations including BILD hilft e.V. "Ein Herz für Kinder," Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and German Doctors.

The charity organization, Bild hilft e.V. "Ein Herz für Kinder", has been raising money since 1978 and supporting children and institutions, both on a national and international level. The organization provides fast, non-bureaucratic support when children need help. In collaboration with renowned hospitals, the non-profit organization makes sure that children that cope with serious illness and cannot be treated adequately in their home countries receive access to vital surgical and therapeutic care in Germany. The charitable organization also provides emergency aid in war zones and after natural disasters. "Ein Herz für Kinder" focus their efforts mainly on Germany. The charity organization, which is run by the German daily BILD, promotes soup kitchens, children's hospitals and day care centers as well as sports and educational projects.

Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) uses the donations to help important nature conservation projects such as maintaining natural river landscapes and forests as well as funding environmental education projects. 774 environmental and nature conservation projects were financed last year by donations from Telekom Deutschland. The majority of these projects were conducted in collaboration with groups collecting old cell phones at schools and local environmental and nature conservation groups. Registered cell-phone collecting groups receive a donation for every cell phone they send in for their own projects, which include initiatives to redesign school buildings or campuses to make them more environmentally friendly or to conduct environmental education activities. In 2011, the new Internet portal was launched by DUH in collaboration with Telekom Deutschland.

The voluntary aid organization German Doctors works to improve the healthcare situation and living conditions of people in developing countries. With donations from cell phone collection activities, we are able to support mobile outpatient facilities in Mindanao (Philippines), which provide basic care to locals.

Cell phone recycling in Croatia: 11,300 old cell phones handed in.

Even though T-HT Hrvatski Telekom did not specifically advertise for people to recycle their cell phones, the number of people who gave their old cell phones to the company increased. A total of 11,300 devices were handed into the company in 2011. That means that a total of 111,300 devices have been collected since the recycling activities were initiated in 2005.

CR Report from the previous year

Campaign week for cell phone returns at T-Mobile Netherlands.

T-Mobile Netherlands collected a total of 1,800 old cell phones during a campaign week from March 25 through April 1, 2011, under its "GSM return plan" program, which the company launched in 2010. The campaign week was conducted in collaboration with a local radio station's donation campaign. As usual, donations went to the War Child aid organization, which was able to help 3,000 children with the donations collected during the campaign week. The GSM return plan program collected 87,870 cell phones by late 2011.

(available only in Dutch)

CR Report from the previous year

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T-Mobile Netherlands initiated the nationwide cell phone recycling program, the "GSM return plan," together with TNT Post on January 5, 2010. By the end of 2010, the cooperation partners were hoping to collect 100,000 devices.. However, this goal was too ambitious. The partners were able to recycle some 40,000 devices in the first year. Profits generated from recycling the phones are donated to the War Child initiative and the World Food Program. Two other companies from the ICT industry have been participating in the "GSM return plan" since late 2010. Together, they intend to promote the important topic of cell phone recycling in the Netherlands.

T-Mobile Czech Republic informs customers regularly about cell phone recycling.

T-Mobile Czech Republic has been including information on the importance of cell phone recycling as well as information on online billing in all bills sent to its customer since 2010. T-Mobile Czech Republic collected almost 8,000 used cell phones in 2011.

CR Report from the previous year

Recycling bins and concepts in the U.S.

Recycling bins for old cell phones and accessories are available at all T-Mobile USA stores. All new cell phone packaging will be labeled with the words "Recycle your cell phone." in order to emphasize the importance of recycling The company is also conducting a communication campaign. During the reporting period, the company collected and recycled a total of 180,000 cell phones.

T-Mobile USA also promotes recycling through its involvement in industry initiatives such as CTIA—The Wireless Association. With the participation of T-Mobile USA representatives, the "green" CTIA working group developed an industry recommendation for recycling cell phones. All contracting parties should develop a collection program and initiate measures to raise public awareness of the issue. They should also increase their collection rates by 20 percent by 2015 and use more recycled materials in production.

CR Report from the previous year 

Cell phone recycling campaigns at Cosmote.

Cosmote group companies again helped to protect the environment and conserve resources during the reporting period. Cosmote Romania conducted a cell phone recycling campaign from July through December 2011. The company distributed 27,000 flyers throughout the country and hung posters in the stores. A total of 123 kilograms of old devices and accessories were collected.

Cosmote Greece successfully continued Join Us in Recycling, its internal recycling initiative for cell phones, accessories, portable batteries and printer cartridges, at Cosmote and Germanos. A good 8 metric tons of used cell phones and accessories as well as almost 45 metric tons of old portable batteries were recycled. Almost 1,100 printer cartridges had been properly disposed of by the end of 2011. The recycling initiative was accompanied by an extensive communication campaign.

CR Report from the previous year

Update on the 2010/2011 CR program.
Sub-targets Status of implementation/measures
Development of a Group-wide waste strategy   Target achieved.
  • Coordination of international cell phone recycling activities (life cycle management)
  • Testing of a certifiable cell phone return process including data deletion to increase reuse rate
  • Return of 1 million cell phones by the end of 2011 in Germany and successful media presence

2010/2011 CR program

The current 2011/2012 CR program can be found in the "Strategy & management" section.


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