On average, more than 70% of collected handsets from developed markets can be refurbished. Only about 25% of phones collected in developing countries are suitable.
The industry supports handset, battery and accessory take-back in many countries. In most cases take-back schemes were established as voluntary initiatives, with self-sustaining financial structures.
In discussions on used phones, both cultural preferences and appropriate incentives can increase return rates. Consumer awareness and convenience are also key success factors. In developing countries the informal repair sector tries to reuse phone parts as spares and only components that are no longer usable may be available for collection.
Collected phones must first be evaluated to determine those most likely to be suitable for reuse. One issue is the risk of phones being discarded in countries that lack the necessary recycling infrastructure for end-of-life electronic equipment. However, few people are willing to throw away their handset with studies finding that most would give away or sell their old handset, or keep it as a spare.