A carbon neutral first: MobileMuster

By gaining Climate Active accreditation, MobileMuster has distinguished itself as Australia’s first carbon neutral product stewardship program.

According to the Federal Government’s most recent State of the Environment report, Australia’s carbon emissions are some of the most intense in the world. Emissions intensity is measured in two ways, first via a comparison of emissions level and population. And second, by comparing emission levels per dollar of gross domestic product.

Despite its still relatively high emissions ranking, the report notes that Australia’s emissions per person have dropped by 27 per cent since 1990.

Much of this decrease is attributed to a reduction in the proportion of electricity generated from coal. That said, one cannot underestimate the effects of growing consumer awareness and the development of industry accountability mechanisms.

Sitting at the intersection of these two drivers is MobileMuster, who’s zero-carbon approach is motivated by a desire to encourage people to take action, while simultaneously ensuring its own operations reflect its role within the product stewardship ecosystem.   

In November, the program achieved Climate Active certification, meaning that when Australians recycle with MobileMuster it is now 100 per cent carbon neutral.

“MobileMuster is committed to reducing our carbon emissions and where necessary, offsetting all the emissions associated with the product stewardship program. It means that all our operations will have zero carbon impact,” Spyro Kalos, Head of MobileMuster says.

“It’s great to be recognised as a leader in our industry and be the first product stewardship program in Australia to achieve certification under Climate Active.”

Climate Active is the new iteration of the Federal Government’s carbon neutral certification, which better reflects the role that government, business and community play in working together to address climate change.

Achieving certification was not an easy process, Kalos explains. He adds that it involved in-depth analysis of MobileMuster’s entire operations, from advertising and the logistics of moving products, right through to the material it uses to manufacture satchels and collection infrastructure.

The analysis was undertaken independently though Lifecycles, taking approximately six weeks from start to finish.

“The great thing about that is it allows us to really analyse what we are doing,” Kalos says.

“Traditionally in Australia, product stewardship has been about collecting and recycling, and we need to be doing more.

“It’s exciting for us to really understand where we can make a difference in our operations to offset carbon.”

Kalos notes that MobileMuster’s satchels are now made from 80 per cent recycled content, with green energy used to power the program’s office.

“The next phase for us is how we can manufacture our collection units using recycled content,” he says.

To take responsibility for the unavoidable emissions it produces, MobileMuster has purchased carbon offsets – investing in a conservation project in South Australia and a wind power project in Taiwan.   

The Mount Sandy Conservation Australia project protects one of the last pockets of bush and wetlands in the region.

Located between Coorong National Park and Lake Albert in South Australia, the project brings non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians together by promoting land conservation using methods that have been employed by Traditional Custodians, the Ngarrindjeri people.

The project not only has significant climate benefits, but will deliver revegetation of the area to support local birds, animals and plants to flourish.

Looking globally, the Taiwan wind power project generates renewable energy, through the Changbin and Taichung wind farms, to power local homes, while helping to expand the country’s sustainable energy industry.

In addition to contributing to emission reductions, the project delivers economic, social and environmental outcomes that help preserve the local ecosystem and encourage biodiversity.

According to Kalos, the mobile telecommunications industry is committed to building a sustainable, low-carbon future by taking responsibility for reducing carbon emissions and the impact of their products throughout the life cycle.

He explains that the way Australian’s use and dispose of mobile phones contributes to their environmental footprint and the emissions associated with making products.

“In our efforts to combat climate change, MobileMuster recognises that we need to look at a circular economy approach to reduce our carbon emissions,” Kalos says.

He adds that this is something MobileMuster is committed to for the long term.

“We will continue to look at further reducing our carbon footprint by using recycled content in our collection infrastructure, moving to 100 per cent recycled content in all of our collateral and also working with partners and suppliers that are equality committed to reducing their carbon footprint.”

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