Return to sender: mobile take-backs & Diogenes!

If you read this previous article and if that made you want to be more mindful about where your electronic items end up, then you may find the info below useful. But, I have my usual Diogenes-inspired caveats!

Carrying a lantern in broad daylight

Most Indian consumers…<<ok scratch that>>…ALL Indian consumers expect to be PAID for disposing high-value waste. So, am not really sure how many good folks would actually return their mobile phones directly to manufacturers and their representatives for no cash reward.

Am quite convinced that consumers make no effort to recycle. If the only motivation to recycle is financial, then I think manufacturers & all other stake holders need to figure out how they could use that bait to send us, like the cattle that we are, to the right channel for disposing electronic waste.

So, anyway…the manufacturers and their take-back communication!

Right, this post was supposed to make it easy for the conscientious amongst you to evaluate options for recycling your old phones! I got a bit distracted up there.

Am listing the few manufacturers that I can think of, all listed in alphabetical order, and not market share (that probably runs backwards in India?)

Some of these links were difficult to find. When I am talking about ease of finding, I mean the relevant link should pop up to the following search keywords <<brand name + india + recycle phones>>. Don’t even expect me to be looking up links on the website gurl!

Disclaimer: I haven’t called any of these numbers, so there may be further difficulties there. It’s all a bit like rescuing the princess from dragons.

List of Mobile Phone Websites with information on recycling

Click on the brand names to get re-directed to relevant pages

Apple: clean, efficient, relevant info for the future recycler. No need to bog the consumer under ten pages of what eWaste Policy in India is all about.

Huawei: dull but probably gets the work done

Jio: somewhere in that text…there is a contact number..

Motorola: hello Moto! I expected a slightly better interface..but as long as you get the dirty job done!

Nokia: pretty standard, gives info of its PRO which is a kind of outsourced collection agency shared by multiple manufacturers

Oppo: not easy to find this link at all. This was buried under About Us/ Press Releases. Hmm

Pixel: So am in a bit of shock. There is no link or direction on what to do with an old Pixel. I guess I’ll have to wait until “Made by Google” happens, and the phone is made of recycled material and transported in carbon-neutral ways (am not making this up- click here). Until then…seriously…I did NOT find any link. Wow. I guess I’ll have to use Xiaomi’s drop box…they claim to be brand-agnostic, maybe they’ll take my Pixel when it goes to mobile-heaven. 😥

Samsung: expected a lighter page to load. But there’s a short TVC to go through before you get the info you need. Scroll past that and you are good to go …phew!

Vivo: hmmm…don’t get bogged by the legalese makes it all so dull. Scroll way down to get what you want

Xiaomi: picks any brand. You just need their MiAccount to prove you use one of their products I guess..?!

Final words

Most of the communication read like T&Cs that NO consumer is going to read. A lot of this felt like a checklist item for a regulatory purpose. If it feels like chicken, it probably is chicken.

The problem we are trying to solve is getting more people to send their eWaste to the least environmentally harmful channel. That would mean we have to channelise the real motivations at work when consumers dispose phones. I don’t think we are quite there yet if we simply put up notices on our websites.

“You will become a teacher of yourself when for the same things that you blame others, you also blame yourself”

Diogenes of Sinope

Featured Image: “Diogenes”, attributed to Giovani Battista Langetti ,Public Domain,