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O2 will use butterflies made from old mobile phones to highlight recycling scheme

There are many ways in which you can promote a product or scheme, but when it comes to O2 Recycle, the network operator is planning to do the same old thing: Issue press releases, get a quote or two from the CEO, and display a series of mechanical butterflies constructed from old mobile phones in O2 retail store windows. Yes, that old trick...

The mechanical butterflies were actually built from discarded mobiles by a design outfit called Is This Good, who took over half a year to perfect their phone-based creations, including spending a good deal of time studying the butterflies at the Natural History Museum to help get their designs right.

It's not the first time Is This Good has got creative on a phone-creature theme, though, as back in 2012 the company produced a previous installation of mobile phone birds which, as the name suggests, used unwanted mobiles to build robot birds that "respond to your calls and talk amongst themselves".

Similarly, the mobile phone butterflies each have a phone number, which when rung will make the butterfly come to life and do things like flap its "phoney" wings or flash different coloured lights on its various screens. Exactly how it reacts will depend on the digits in the caller's phone number, so everyone will see a different display.

It's a neat little idea and one that O2 hopes will highlight the fact that there is a use for old mobiles once their owner is finished with them – namely, the O2 Recycle Scheme (don't worry, the network isn't suggesting you build your own fabulous phone-bot).

Bill Eyres, head of sustainability at O2, told the Press Association: "We can see this project creating a type of 'butterfly effect'. 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."

He continued: "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. 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 Recycle has now recycled over a million gadgets, the company claims, and you can check out the details of the scheme here (the current price for an old iPhone 4S, for example, is up to £110, though obviously this will vary according to the condition of your handset).

Image Credit: Press Association