Rio Olympic Games medallist Eliza McCartney is no ordinary person, but she has a very ordinary problem – what to do with her old mobile phones?
Eliza admits that until recently her old mobile phones have been sitting at home in a drawer because she didn’t know what to do with them.
“I knew there were precious metals inside the phone that can be recycled and materials that we are at risk of completely running out of at some point in the future, but I didn’t really know it was feasible that you could easily recycle them,” said Eliza.
That all changed when Eliza learned that the medals at the Tokyo Olympic Games are going to be made from gold, silver and copper which has been extracted from recycled mobile phones and other electronic waste. Some of these phones would have come from New Zealand, having been recycled with RE:MOBILE.
“I think it’s great that they are extracting metal from e-waste to make the medals,” said the 22-year-old pole vaulter who will be chasing her second Olympic medal in Tokyo.
“The Olympics are the biggest sporting event in the world and so many people watch it. It’s a really good talking point for people to understand that recycling their e-waste is something that they can do. It’s a very unique thing about the Tokyo Games, but hopefully something that keeps happening in the future.”
Eliza is the ambassador for RE:MOBILE, a not-for-profit mobile phone recycling scheme.
“Recycling your mobile phone with RE:MOBILE is a win-win-win situation. It solves your problem of what to do with your old mobile phone, it allows the precious resources in your phone to be reused and it raises money for Sustainable Coastlines.”
Promoting RE:MOBILE made perfect sense for Eliza, not only because she has her eyes on one of the Tokyo Olympic medals, but because she also as a “huge interest” in the environment, sustainability and nature – so much so that she has changed from studying physiology to undertaking an environmental science degree with Massey University, something that she juggles alongside her training and international competitions.
“With environmental science I can have a focus on sustainability and the issues that the world is facing which is really important to me. I have a real fascination with sustainability and how we can live in harmony with the earth and everything we do on it.”
Eliza encourages everyone to dig out their old mobile phone and recycle with RE:MOBILE.
“Recycling your phone with RE:MOBILE is no big drama, you just drop it off at one of the collection points and it is done. And you can trust that it is being done properly.”