A 15-foot Christmas tree made from more than 2,500 unusable cell phones decorates an electronics store in Vietnam, raising awareness of the ecological impact of mobile devices.
Reportedly, it took 10 workers about two weeks to building the cellular Christmas tree in front of the country’s Westcom Electronics store in the city of My Tho. Store manager Nguyen Trai says he hopes the recycled creation will raise awareness about hazardous waste and promote environmental responsibility.
The tree is a particularly seasonal reminder of the growing awareness of the environmental impact of mobile devices have. As phones grow more popular in usage around the globe, more of them take up space in landfills and leak hazardous materials into the earth.
The U.S recognizes the need to raise awareness of device recycling as part of April’s National Cell Phone Recycling Week in conjunction with Earth Day.
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile took this special event to promote their handset recycling programs, provide pre-printed mail services, and offer buy-backs on some phones or offering credits for others.
Carriers aren’t the only ones offering recycling programs and promoting them during the awareness program. Retailers like Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot participated in the initiative as well.
Sustainability is becoming a larger concern for companies on the whole. A report by Greenpeace ranking phone makers’ environmental responsibility gave Apple high marks for meeting and exceeding recycling goals, increasing its use of renewable power, and eliminating PVC plastics from its products. HP, Dell, and Nokia each beat Apple, however, due to more energy-efficient products and higher sustainability practices in production facilities and corporate headquarters.
Westcom Electronics plans to auction its tree after the holidays and donate the proceeds to charity, according to store manager Trai, who added that staff members are already collecting unusable phones in hopes of erecting an even bigger Christmas tree next year.
There are tens of millions of cell phones in circulation in Vietnam, but it’s unknown how many used phones are dumped each year because the government doesn’t collect such data.