April 17, 2006
Memories, privacy concerns push down recycling rate of mobile phones
Black market and second hand cell phones have brought prices down and account for the phenomenal growth of mobile subscribers in emerging markets such as Africa, but in some parts of the world, such as Japan, the recycling of mobile phones is declining.
According to Asahi, " the recovery rate for phones from customers who have changed models was 35 percent of 2001. In fiscal 2004, the recovery rate had fallen to 21 percent--and the rate is expected to drop further for fiscal 2005. Asahi reports.
"One reason for the declining rate is the wide range of functions found on mobile phones.
Even if the phones are no longer used for calls, customers can still use them to take photos or play videogames.
Another concern is related to private information leaking out. As telecommunications companies have added greater security features to their new models, users tend to enter more personal information into their phones, experts said.
One measure being taken to alleviate concerns about information leaks is a special crushing machine that opens a hole in the mobile phone and destroys the circuit boards that serve as the memory device. Users can watch this destruction process."
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