UNEP invites Bell to join end-of-life management program for mobile phones
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has invited Bell Canada to join its Mobile Phone Partnership Initiative (MPPI), a program aimed at promoting the environmentally sound management of used and end-of-life mobile phones. This is the first invitation of its kind extended to a Canadian wireless carrier.
Established in 2002, MPPI's membership includes leading mobile phone manufactures and government representatives of 158 countries. This year, Bell Canada, Vodafone, and France Telecom will be the first three wireless carriers to become permanent members of the MPPI.
"This is a strong endorsement that our recycling initiative and our environmental management program are truly best in class," said Marc Duchesne, Director of Environmental Services at Bell Canada. "We look forward to sharing the information we have gained and also learning about new and innovative ways to improve our corporate program."
Bell's national Recycle, Re-use, Redial program, launched in 2003, provides Canadian wireless users a responsible disposal method for unwanted wireless devices and their accessories. All cellular phones, as well as pagers, wireline phones, PDAs, accessories and batteries can be disposed of at any one of more than 400 drop-off locations in Bell World/Espace Bell stores in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia throughout the year.
In 2004, the program surpassed its target, collecting 50,699 old cellular phones (15.2 metric tonnes). The target was 50,000 phones. Units with remaining functional life were sent to a refurbishing facility where they were purged of data containing phone numbers, e-mail messages and other personal information prior to being redistributed for resale or recycling.
Also in 2004, the program collected and recycled 2.6 tonnes of batteries and 5.2 tonnes of chargers and other cell phone accessories. Since its launch in April 2003, Recycle, Re-use, Redial has diverted a total of 37.9 tonnes of waste from landfills.
In addition to reducing landfill waste, the program has supported a number of charitable initiatives. For example, it has provided unlimited and/or reduced local airtime, call display, voicemail and 911 access to women's shelters across Canada and numerous registered children's charities and community safety agencies. Last year, some 1,540 cellular phones were donated to more than 150 women's shelters in Ontario, Québec, Alberta and BC. In addition, 1,498 units were donated to the 2nd Stage Program, which supports women leaving the shelters to start a new life. In 2004 as well, the program raised $200,000 through the sale of wireless phones to benefit the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children.
"Bell was invited to join the MPPI in recognition of the important efforts it has made to advance environmental management of mobile phones in Canada," said MPPI chair Marco Buletti. "The knowledge and expertise Bell has gained since it launched its corporate recycling program will be shared with our membership."
More information about the Recycle, Reuse, Redial program is available on Bell's Web site, www.bell.ca (search Recycle).