On June 20, NTT Docomo and am/pm Japan announced plans to begin equipping convenience stores with cellphone recycling bins, making it easier for people to recycle their unwanted devices.
Since 1998, Japan's wireless providers have been recycling unwanted phones in their own stores for customers who switch models or cancel their contracts. In recent years, however, it has become increasingly common for customers to wait a while before recycling their old handsets, mainly because they hold greater amounts of important data that needs to be accessed even after switching models. Most users eventually decide to dispose of their mobile devices, though, so NTT is hoping they will make use of these recycling bins.
The recycling bins, which will initially be set up at eight convenience stores in central Tokyo, are open to unwanted handsets of all makes and models. The bins are also designed to prevent theft of the contents.
In 2005, NTT harvested 37,993 kg (42 tons) of copper and 145 kg (320 pounds) of gold from discarded handsets.