How your old mobile could make a difference

If Santa brings you a new mobile phone this year, it's worth thinking carefully about what to do with your old one

If a new mobile phone awaits you under the Christmas tree, you don't have to toss the old one in the bin -- there's a simple way to donate it to charity.

Falkirk-based recycling company The Recycling Appeal runs a programme whereby a portion of the funds generated from the sale of used mobile phones and empty ink cartridges is donated to charities.

Jamie Rae, chief executive of The Recycling Appeal, said: "This Christmas there will be millions of mobile phones exchanged as gifts. Most recipients already have old phones. This is an easy way to help the environment and charity at same time."

Hardware can be sent directly to the company or - if you call it on 08712 505050 or visit its Web site - it'll send you a freepost envelope for your donation.

Businesses looking to make regular donations can receive several freepost bags or have a courier sent to pick up the used hardware.

Last year The Recycling Appeal recycled some 680,000 phones and 1.2 million printer cartridges through the programme.

UK charities involved include Marie Curie Cancer Care, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, the Royal National Institute of the Blind, the Children's Hospice Association Scotland and Northern Ireland Hospice Care.

The Recycling Appeal operates in the UK, Ireland, France, Spain and will open its doors in the US starting next April.

According to market researcher Gartner, 167 million mobile phones were sold worldwide in the third quarter of 2004.

CNET Networks, the publisher of ZDNet UK, has teamed up with Computer Aid International to launch a Web site that helps companies and individuals donate old PCs to good causes, called www.bridgethedigitaldivide.com. Donations will be used to help school children in developing countries gain essential vocational skills in IT. They will also help not-for-profit organisations run more efficiently and effectively.

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