MobileMuster expands

mobilemuster expands

Leading product stewardship program MobileMuster is adding three new e-waste streams to its collection services.

Since 1998, MobileMuster has diverted more than 1700 tonnes of mobile phones and accessories from landfill. Now the product stewardship program is dialling up the intensity. 

Answering a call to add to Australia’s move to a circular economy, MobileMuster is providing a smart solution for growing e-waste streams in home technology and landlines.

Modems, routers, smart speakers, tracking tags and VR headsets will no longer be tossed aside in desk drawers, in a box in the garage or a cupboard in the spare room. And certainly not into the bin.

Spyro Kalos, Head of MobileMuster, says adding the waste streams to the industry-led product stewardship scheme is a reflection of the changing nature of the challenge related to electronic waste and the increasingly diverse range of products available as technology evolves.

He says that independent research conducted on behalf of Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) found that for every 1.6 modems in use in Australia, there is one being stored and not in use. For every 2.1 smart devices in use, another is being stored. In total, more than 20.1 million devices are being stored in homes across the country. 

“In the past 10 years, the rate of e-waste generated each year in Australia has more than doubled,” Spyro says. “With the amount of electronic waste sitting in people’s drawers, MobileMuster is looking to change the way Australians look at waste more broadly, protect the environment, and ensure effective recycling strategies are in place to meet future industry demand for new products. This expansion shows we are continuing to deliver on that promise.”

The recent E-Product Stewardship in Australia Report, produced for the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment, found that in 2019, 975,000 tonnes of e-products were estimated to have entered the Australian market, while 521,000 tonnes of e-waste were generated, equating to 20.4 kilograms of e-waste on a per capita basis. The report estimates that in 2030, about 12 million tonnes of e-products will be in use, about 12.3 times the amount of product entering the market, while 674,000 tonnes of e-waste will be generated. 

MobileMaster, run by the AMTA, is the only voluntary government accredited electronic product stewardship scheme in Australia. It provides a free mobile phone recycling program with more than 3000 public drop-off points across the country and a free mail back option.

It is currently funded by all the major handset manufacturers and network carriers including Optus, Telstra and TPG Telecom (Vodafone). 

In 2021, the organisation won the award for Best Stewardship Outcomes (Scheme or Industry Collective) at the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence Awards. The judges said MobileMuster won because of its long-standing accreditation and commitment to consumer education and business engagement in keeping mobile phones out of landfill.

MobileMuster expands
Brett Watts, VP Sales Technicolor, Tammy Walda, Account Manager Technicolor and Spyro Kalos, Head of MobileMuster.

Spyro says the success of the program is due to the brand owners who fund the program. For many, MobileMuster has become an extension of their sustainability work. 

He says the expansion of e-waste collection is driven by the scheme’s members looking to add to the idea of a circular economy, including an opportunity to use the materials recovered in their own manufacturing processes.

“AMTA and its members support a voluntary approach to product stewardship, and the MobileMuster program has demonstrated how industry can successfully work together to deliver effective, measurable social and environmental outcomes,” he says.

“Since our program started over 24 years ago, we have facilitated the collection and recycling of more than 1700 tonnes of mobiles and accessories. We have achieved more than 95 per cent resource recovery through recycling, and 73 per cent awareness of mobile phone recycling.

“We have made mobile phone recycling accessible to all Australians, with 96 per cent of the Australian population within ten kilometres of a MobileMuster drop-off point. We are looking to make recycling more products just as easy and accessible.”

Technicolor is the first modem manufacturer to confirm participation in the expanded scheme, to be launched on 1 July 2022. 

Brett Watts, Technicolor Vice President of Sales Australia and New Zealand, says the company is committed to ethical and accountable policies and practices and has long committed to the principles of sound and environmentally responsible waste management. 

“We have programs to increase recycling and reduce waste generation, hazardous waste, and waste sent to landfills. In Australia, we feel based on MobileMuster’s history and long-standing relationships with ISP’s that they are the right partner to help us achieve those goals. 

“This has been on our radar for some time as we continually look for more sustainable ways to conduct our business. We wanted to take our commitment to corporate social responsibility further and e-waste recycling through MobileMuster is one of the ways we are doing that. The Smart Modem 3 we have launched with Telstra has a housing made from more than 85 per cent recycled plastics, so we’re taking steps to maximise material recovery and grow the circular economy.

“The return process for the MobileMuster e-waste recycling program is easily accessible to all, and Technicolor wants to play its role, with our customers, in promoting this venture and doing what we can to share the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling e-waste.” 

Brett says that as an industry leader, the company actively seeks out ways to better the business and inspire change within the ecosystem. Partnering with MobileMuster is a natural progression.

“We have also shared our commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) Business Ambition for 1.5°C including the Net-Zero Standard. This means that we will take actions to help keep global warming below 1.5°C via near term targets for 2025 and 2030 and net-zero target by 2050. 

“Technicolor is the only company in the connected home industry to sign on additionally to the 2050 Net-Zero Standard. Technicolor is also proud to have received EcoVadis’ platinum medal with advanced assessments across Environment, Labor and Human Rights, Ethics and Sustainable Procurement. 

“This distinction places Technicolor in the top one per cent of best-in-class companies evaluated in the manufacture of communications equipment industry.”

Spyro says consumers are looking for brands who provide solid sustainable practices for disposing of unwanted technology, along with sustainable packaging and durable design. The success of the expansion of the program will rely on more brands that distribute the expanded products into the Australian market, joining.

“MobileMuster continues to explore ways to engage more Australians to get involved in the circular economy by the simple act of reusing, repairing and recycling. By storing devices that are no longer wanted, we are unable to recover the materials that go into making them.”

He says MobileMuster also has an emphasis on environmental and social governance, partnering with charities to encourage consumers to recycle and do some good. More than $1 million has been donated to support local charities including the Salvos, Able Australia, OzHarvest, Take 3 for the Sea and Landcare Australia.   

For more information, visit:

Send this to a friend