Used smartphones.
Used smartphones. (NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP)

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It’s a war chest that recyclers would love to get their hands on. In France between 50 and 100 million unused telephones are sleeping in the drawers. The eco-organization that is supposed to manage this type of waste is launching a campaign this summer to collect as much as possible. Because the phone is an incredibly complicated item to retrieve.

This is the story of a bar of soap, which largely escapes the recycling process: almost eight out of ten phones end up in a drawer at home. They serve as a spare tire in the event of failure of the new smartphone. It is also a gesture of protection for fear of data exploitation in the event of recovery. And then it does not take up space. Today France sits on a mountain of telephones. According to one of the two eco-organizations that structure the industry, we buy one every three years. But there are only 200,000 each year that end up at official recycling or reconditioning collection points.

The telephone is a singular object that is very difficult to collect. Ecosystem has been struggling with it for two years. The organization has tried charity collections and recycling bins. But the devices were stolen, the bins vandalized. The collection remains residual for the moment. It’s also complicated for Ecologic. The 2nd official player in the collection is currently testing a social door-to-door system in two districts of Paris. Hence this operation to successfully make the ecological transition of the telephone. It’s quite simple. You can send your phone by post for free using a printable label. 35 cities stages of the Tour de France its partners. The idea is to push for repairs. It has been in people’s minds for a little less than a decade. And for four or five years for phones.


These phones once recovered land in the hands of Emmaus. This is the social side of the story. The Bocage workshops to the south of Cholet recondition 10% of the devices for resale. The others go to Le Havre. They are cleaned up and recycled. 15 materials are recovered, including precious metals.



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