Orange unveiled plans to extend a scheme promoting smartphone repair, reuse and recycling across its European footprint by the end of the year, the group’s latest move to promote a circular economy.

Ahead of environmental conference ChangeNOW, which starts in Paris later this week, the operator group detailed plans to extend its Re initiative to Spain, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania.

The scheme launched in France in 2020 and expanded to its operations in Luxembourg, Belgium and Poland earlier this year. It comprises four elements: recycling; returns; refurbishment; and repairs.

Under the Re banner Orange recycles old phones with no cash value; offers discount or credit vouchers to customers taking working old devices into its stores; sells refurbished phones in its outlets; and offers repairs across its retail footprint.

In France Orange gives all profits from unusable devices it recycles to charity and also makes a donation of €2 for each handset returned for resale.

The operator noted in its home market the initiative increased the so-called collection rate (covering recycling and returns of used mobile phones) from 13.4 per cent in 2020 to 22.3 per cent in 2021. It has a target of reaching 30 per cent for 2025.

It added 1.9 million devices have been returned and recycled since Re launched.

In a statement, the operator highlighted the scheme was founded to “raise public awareness of the environmental impact of mobile phones, recycling, and give a second life to mobile equipment and therefore consolidate Orange’s commitment to the circular economy in all our activities and practices.”