O2 Recycle unveils the UK's first phone made from grass...and recycled phone parts

  • Fully-functioning smart phone made out of grass cut from Twickenham Stadium and parts of recycled phones
  • Prototype released to celebrate the launch of Recycle for Rugby, supporting RFU’s Try for Change programme at England’s Six Nations game against Scotland

O2 Recycle has collaborated with designer, Sean Miles, to unveil a unique mobile phone prototype which has been made using the unconventional material of pulped grass clippings from the pitch at Twickenham Stadium – the home of the England Rugby Team.

Commissioned for its ‘Recycle for Rugby’ initiative – which supports the RFU’s new social responsibility programme Try for Change, which promotes rugby as a powerful tool for social good – the phone was created using a combination of recycled mobile phone parts and real grass. The piece showcases how old tech has the exciting potential to be upcycled into something new, original and unique, and to inspire more people to recycle their old devices.

The striking device is fully functional and took over 240 hours to build, with designers using tens of thousands of grass blades for the casing and locally-sourced wood for the buttons.

The grass was freeze-dried within two hours of being cut from Twickenham Stadium before going through a pulping process and being molded into a template. Once in the casing, the pulped grass was then covered in an eco-friendly resin – made from waste materials – hardening and bonding the grass together to protect the inner workings of the phone.

Draft Caption - O2 Grass Phone Shoot - 12/3/15 © Mikael Buck

Sean Miles, designer at DesignWorks

“We wanted to give the ‘old and forgotten’ a new lease of life and create a thought provoking prototype which would make people stop and think about recycling in a new and different way. The phone itself is incredibly striking and those who use it can pick out every blade of grass and imagine the incredible rugby games which have been played over them.”

Bill Eyres, Head of Sustainability at O2 said:

“By creating this phone we are demonstrating how two of O2’s passion points – rugby and O2 Recycle – can come together, as a force for good.

O2 Recycle offers a simple, sustainable way to recycle unused gadgets and receive a cash payment in return whilst at the same time backing a great cause and recycling for rugby. We are calling on  people across the country to recycle unwanted gadgets and help raise the £350,000 we have pledged to support the RFU’s Try for Change social responsibility programme, aimed at promoting rugby as a powerful tool for social change.”

Electronics are the fastest growing waste stream in the world as devices are often discarded before they are unrepairable or technically outdated. O2 Recycle, which has to date received 1.4 million devices since its launch in 2009, repurposes nine out of ten gadgets. By striving to extend the functional life of these devices we reduce their environmental impact.

O2 Recycle, part of the O2 Think Big environment initiative, offers cash payments of up to £260 for gadgets; including mobile phones, tablets, MP3 players, handheld consoles, digital cameras and SatNavs. The scheme is available to both O2 and non O2 customers. To date O2 Recycle has paid £100 million to customers with a proportion of profits invested into the Think Big youth fund.

This ‘eco-phone’ follows on from the recent Digital Butterflies created as part of the O2 Recycle wearable tech collection which featured products such as ‘Walkie Talkies’, a combination of recycled phones and vintage shoes.

For more information on O2 Recycle or Think Big visit http://www.o2recycle.co.uk/