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  • 2017 Corporate Responsibility Report
CR facts

Used cell phone collection

More than 105 million used cell phones are stowed away in drawers in Germany. They no longer work or have been replaced with newer models. These cell phones contain hazardous substances, which should not be disposed of in your regular waste bin, and valuable metals. Up to 100 percent of the materials used in cell phones can be recycled. Valuable materials such as gold, silver and copper can be reused. Other materials can be used to generate energy.

Since 2003 Telekom Deutschland has been involved in the collection and reuse, or green recycling, of used cell phones in cooperation with the Deutsche Umwelthilfe environmental organization.  Deutsche Telekom has reused and recycled more than 1.6 million used cell phones to save resources. The Used Cell Phone Collection CR KPI is used to evaluate the success of our initiatives and is published in the CR Report under KPIs.

The collection process
The used cell phone collection process was designed in cooperation with the Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. environmental organization. All collected devices are transported safely to our Telekom recycling center. Each device is recorded and labeled for reuse or recycling. Around 10 percent of the devices collected are fully functional and can be reused. We make sure that all previous owner data is deleted from these cell phones or smartphones. They are then resold in Europe and Asia and reused. Most collected cell phones, however, are defective or data deletion would be too involved. We recycle these devices at our Telekom recycling center in Europe using state-of-the-art and environmentally sound recycling methods.

Telekom Deutschland donates the proceeds from the used cell phone collection initiative to Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V.. We have been partnering with the environmental organization for over a decade now. Deutsche Umwelthilfe has used our donations to sponsor more than 770 environmental protection and nature conservation projects.