People thinking of throwing out their handsets the moment threatened price hikes by mobile telcos kick in are being urged not to.
Eurosource Europe, a print cartridge and mobile phone recycling company, is to launch on 24 April a nationwide appeal for unwanted mobile phone handsets.
Eurosource will repurpose the mobiles for use in Asian countries where the lack of a telecomms infrastructure means landlines aren't an option.
Any handsets that cannot be reused are disposed of in accordance with EU guidelines and without harm to the environment, said the firm. Approximately 40 million people in the UK own a mobile phone. Currently only around five percent of dumped phones are recycled.
Proceeds from the handsets recycled by Eurosource are passed on to charities and fundraising initiatives specified by the donors.
Last year, the first year of its free mobile collection scheme, Eurosource collected and recycle 40,000 handsets. In 2001, it aims to reap a significantly larger proportion of the up to 10 million handsets binned or consigned to lofts annually.
Depending on the model, its age and whether it is supplied with a charger, handsets can be worth as much as £20 each to the charities concerned.
Jason Burns, cellular operations manager, says, "The target for this year is 250,000. We'll be launching a campaign at the Charity Fair in London on 24 April and will be handing out collection boxes to all the charities represented there."
Falkirk-based Eurosource Europe collects and refills print cartridges as well as recycling old and unwanted mobile phones. Details at www.esel.co.uk and, from 24 April at www.recyclingappeal.com.