O2’s ‘Digital Butterflies’ Aim To Highlight Value Of Phone Recycling


O2 creates ‘digital butterflies’ from old mobile phones to show how old technology can gain a new lease of life

O2 has built four ‘digital butterflies’ made from old mobile phones in an effort to highlight the value of recycling technology as opposed to chucking it out.

The butterflies were commissioned by O2 Recycle, which offers cash payments of up to £260 for unwanted gadgets, and took seven months to build. Each butterfly has their own individual phone number which, when dialled, activates digital wings constructed from old handset screens.

O2 says these wings have a unique pattern which constantly changes, while advanced algorithms allow each model to react differently to everyone who interacts with it. Each model is designed to represent a different species, possessing individual characteristics such as extendable antennae, movable heads and laser eyes.

O2 Recycle efforts

O2 Butterflies_studio (3)The butterflies were launched at the Butterfly House exhibition at the Natural History Museum and will be displayed at O2 store during the summer.

We can see this project creating a type of ‘butterfly effect’,” says Bill Eyres, head of sustainability at O2. “As people experience this amazing recycled technology, we hope they will be inspired to regularly recycle their old devices. Many people don’t realise that their old technology can have a second life.”

O2 Recycle has previously created a range of ‘wearable tech’, including ‘walkie talkies’ made from old phones and vintage shoes to highlight its efforts. So far it has handed out £77 million to people recycling old electronics.

“There’s an environmental need to dig out old gadgets so they can be used again, rather than lying unused and unloved in a drawer,” adds Eyres. “O2 Recycle offers a simple, sustainable way to recycle unused gadgets and receive a cash payment in return. We all have a role to play in making sure that old technology lives on even when we’ve finished with it.”

O2’s other environmental efforts include its “chargers out of the box” campaign which sees some mobile phones ship without a mains charger as many users already have the required equipment. An adapter can be purchased at a discounted price, but it is hoped that customers will reuse existing chargers, reducing the amount of electronic waste generated. O2 hopes to sell all phones without chargers by 2015.

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O2 Butterflies

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O2 butterflies

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