A smartphone with a USB cable connected to the charging port.


Closing the loop: how the circular economy benefits the environment

Oct 12, 2023
At TELUS, we're leading the way in the circular economy, repairing, repurposing and recycling technology to create a more sustainable future. So far, we've kept more than 15 million devices from landfills, and we’re not stopping there. 
In this post, we're diving deep into the environmental benefits of the circular economy, specifically what happens after a customer drops off their phone with us and what we do to prevent your old devices from ending up in the landfill.

Preventing electronic waste

Electronic waste, often abbreviated as e-waste, poses a rapidly growing environmental concern. When smartphones, tablets and other devices are disposed of in the trash, they ultimately end up in landfills, exacerbating the global waste problem and exposing us to toxic chemicals. Mishandling these devices poses serious threats to the environment and our communities. At TELUS, we've taken steps to prevent your old devices from contributing to this issue.
When you choose to drop off your old phone with us, whether it's for an upgrade or recycling, you're making a direct contribution to the circular economy. This ensures that your device won't end up in a landfill and, instead, puts a refurbished phone into the hands of someone who can put it to good use. Depending on the device’s condition, we’ll embark on a journey of refurbishment or responsible recycling.

The refurbishment process: where old devices find new purpose

Many of the devices we receive still have plenty of life left in them, even if they may appear outdated to their owners. Our team of experts conducts a thorough assessment of these devices, identifying and resolving any issues. This process includes repairing hardware, updating software and thoroughly testing each component before putting it back on the device market for someone else to enjoy. By extending the lifespan of your pre-loved device, we effectively reduce the demand for manufacturing new ones, conserving valuable resources and energy.
Once these refurbished devices are restored to their optimal condition, we offer them to our customers as an affordable and sustainable alternative to purchasing new ones. It's a win-win scenario: you gain access to a quality device at a lower cost, and the environment benefits from a reduction in electronic waste.
A technician opens up a smartphone.

Responsible recycling: renewing resources

For devices that are beyond repair or refurbishment, we leverage our responsible recycling process. We collaborate with the best recycling partners in Canada to ensure secure and responsible recycling processes are used. By doing so, we are not just diverting waste from landfill, but also supporting Canadian businesses! 
Devices that can no longer be refurbished for reuse often get repurposed for parts. Typically, these devices continue to work, but they have a broken part such as a screen, speaker, battery or camera, which ultimately affects their overall performance. When we receive devices in this condition, our team of experts are able to repurpose it for its parts. They take the necessary parts from older devices and install them into newer devices, extending the lifespan.
Alternatively, mobile devices that cannot be reused or have been repurposed for parts will get properly recycled. The initial step in this process is removing the battery, as they require their own recycling process separate from the device. From here, the mobile devices are shredded and melted, making it easier to extract the precious metals that are commonly found in your phone. By separating all of the materials, our recyclers can then extract and repurpose both the metal and plastic parts into other items, ultimately diverting them from landfill.

Join us in embracing the circular economy

As we strive to build a better future for all Canadians, we invite you to join us in embracing the circular economy. Whether it's through recycling your old devices, supporting eco-friendly products or advocating for sustainable practices, every small step makes a difference. Together, we can create a more sustainable and circular future.
To learn more about TELUS’ commitment to the circular economy, visit