Taipei, Dec. 31 (CNA) The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) signed a pact Tuesday with 15 mobile device vendors and telecommunication operators to collect and recycle unwanted mobile phones, PDAs, GPS systems and battery chargers.
Under the program, which begins Jan. 15, 2009, the mobile phone operators will collect unwanted devices in recycling bins at their 2,000 retail outlets, and the devices will then be turned over to qualified companies for recycling.
According to National Communications Commission figures, every person in Taiwan was averaging 1.08 cell phone subscriptions as of the end of November. With the use of mobile phones so widespread, recycling unwanted devices is of critical importance, the EPA indicated.
The agency estimates that about 9.5 million cell phones were retired last year. Of those, 44 percent were left idle at home, 36 percent were sold secondhand or given away, while only 18 percent were recycled.
EPA Minister Shen Shu-hung said 1 kilogram of gold can be retrieved from 30,000 discarded mobile phones, while a kilo of silver can be extracted from some 10,000 discarded phones, citing estimates by the Japanese Telecommunications Carriers Association.
Moreover, recycling 10,000 old cell phones can save up 220,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, which could power 57 families for a year. The savings translate into a reduction of 140 metric tons of carbon emissions, according to Shen.
The EPA minister called on the public to bring unwanted mobile communication devices and accessories to any of the retail stores or hand them to companies for recycling.
The 15 mobile service carriers and vendors include Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, Asia Pacific Telecom, Vibo Telecom, FETnet, First International Telecom, Aurora, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola.
(By Y.L. Kao)