How Nokia and TES-AMM Recycles Old Mobile Phones

How Nokia and TES-AMM Recycles Old Mobile Phones

nokia recyleGreen Business Singapore went for a site visit recently to check out how Nokia and its e-waste vendor, TES-AMM (Singapore) Pte Ltd, collects and recycles old mobile phones.

Nokia has the largest voluntary mobile phone recycling scheme worldwide, with takeback and collection facilities in over 5,000 Nokia Care Centres across 85 countries.

In Singapore, Nokia currently has collection points in all Nokia Care Centres at Wheelock Place, Century Square, Parkway Parade, Causeway Point and Suntec City. Take back facilities are also available in NUS, NTU, SMU, Nanyang Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, St Margaret Secondary, St Hilda Primary and Secondary, and Saint Andrew JC.

recycle kioskIn July 2008, Nokia launched the deployment of the Nokia Recycling Kiosks (NRK), which are automated recycling kiosks, in Malaysia and Singapore. Nokia is also running the ‘Recycle A Phone & Adopt A Tree’ program in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. With every phone sent for recycling, customers will receive a tree in their name planted under the NEWTrees initiative. This is a collaboration between Nokia, WWF Indonesia and Equinox Publishing, and Nokia has committed funds towards the planting of 100,000 trees in Indonesia.

In Singapore, Nokia is working with TES-AMM to recycle raw materials from the mobile phones collected. The raw materials recovery rate at TES-AMM is as high as 99%. Many different materials and precious metals can be recycled from mobile phones and made into new products, including:

  • Plastic: Plastic is largely used on the covers and external parts of a mobile device. They are turned into plastic pallets to be used in warehousing.
  • Stainless Steel: This is used on external detailing phone covers and some internal components. It can be recycled and used again in all sorts of products from mobile devices, to kitchen kettles, ovens and in bicycle frames.
  • Copper: Copper is used in a mobile phone’s circuitry and printed wiring boards. It can be recycled into copper pipes or to make musical instruments.
  • Gold: Small amounts of gold are used in a mobile phone to coat connectors and electrical surfaces. It can be recycled and used again in other mobile and electronic devices, dental fillings or to make jewellery.
  • Platinum: This is used in the electrical components of a mobile phones. It can be reclaimed and used in catalytic convertors for passenger cars, for equipment, dental filling or in jewellery.
  • Cobalt and lithium salt: These rare earth metals are recovered from recycled batteries and are re-made into lithium ion batteries.

Here are some photos taken during the site visit at TES-AMM’s recycling facility:

Mobile phone recycling

mobile phone components 1

mobile phone components 2

Manual dismantling of old mobile phones

dismantling mobile phones 1

dismantling mobile phones 2

Sorting of components

components of mobile phones 1

components of mobile phones 2

components of mobile phones 3

Crushing of circuit boards and sieving

Crushing of components

Sieving of crushed components

Ferrous metal separation

metal separation of crushed components

Crushed circuit boards

crushed components

Crushed circuit boards undergo hammer mill and electrostatic separation to get:

Fibrous powder (for making plastic pallets)

Fibrous powder

Metal powder (contains 60-70% copper)

Metal powder

Fibrous powder and other waste plastics used to make plastic pallets by heat extrusion

plastic recycling 2

Chemical processes to extract gold from components

chemical process to extract gold

chemical process to refine gold

Gold melting

gold melting 1

gold melting 2

gold melting 4

gold bar

Li-ion battery recycling

Li ion battery recycling 2

Li-ion battery recycling


  • byAmy Choong
    Posted December 8, 2009 8:34 pm 0Likes

    Hi Eugene,

    Republic Polytechnic is also one of the Polys that has mobile phone collection and recycling with NOKIA.



    • byEugene
      Posted December 11, 2009 1:27 pm 0Likes

      Thanks Amy, good to know that more schools are having the mobile phone recycling programme

  • byJeanie Britz
    Posted December 23, 2009 4:25 pm 0Likes

    Is there any of these recycling initiatives available in South Africa? I also wuld like to know more about Medical waste intitiatives in your country.

    • byEugene
      Posted December 28, 2009 5:51 pm 0Likes

      Hi Jeanie, medical waste is incinerated in Singapore

  • byling
    Posted January 3, 2010 4:43 pm 0Likes

    Hi, any idea if Nokia takes in non-nokia phones for recycling? I have an old motorola and samsung phone that I want to get rid of. thanks

    • byEugene
      Posted January 4, 2010 10:00 am 0Likes

      Hi ling, yes Nokia takes in phones of other brands too.

  • byvc.karunakaran
    Posted January 10, 2010 10:57 pm 0Likes

    want to know the E-waste recycling the process

    karunakaran Vc.


  • byJamie
    Posted February 20, 2011 2:20 pm 0Likes

    Hi, what happens when you trade-in your phone in Singapore then? Do they also recycle it?

    • byEugene
      Posted February 21, 2011 6:23 pm 0Likes

      If you trade-in your phone, the second hand dealer usually sell it locally or overseas for reuse.

  • byPuneet Garg
    Posted February 25, 2011 3:06 pm 0Likes

    Hi Eugene,
    I am a fresh graduate in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from India. I wanted to learn how E waste is recycled. Is there any certification program available for it? Is there any E waste recycling company which can offer jobs to people who are not residents of Singapore?
    Please reply

    • byEugene
      Posted March 1, 2011 12:06 pm 0Likes

      Hi Puneet, you would have to contact the e-waste companies directly on job offers.

    Posted March 11, 2011 8:19 pm 0Likes

    I would like to import used mobile phones from your company mostly Nokia phones because i have been in this business for the last 10years getting them from London.
    Please avail me with the the Sales Director contacts so that we start doing business.
    Hope for your quick reply.
    Rgds, Amon.

  • byIan
    Posted April 17, 2012 5:23 am 0Likes

    Hi. I was wondering where did you manage to get the information that traded-in phones are sold locally or sent oversea for reuse?

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