O2 ‘upcycles’ mobile phones into gloves


‘Talk to the Hand’ range created, which combine parts from recycled handsets with vintage hand wear 

O2 has launched gloves that double up as mobile phones to illustrate the possibilities of gadget recycling.

Dubbed ‘Talk to the Hand’, the creations by artist Sean Miles use Mui Mui and Pineider gloves, combining them with parts from mobiles recycled through O2, which commissioned the project.

The gloves comprise a speaker unit embedded in the thumb and microphone built into the little finger of the glove. They can be connected to any existing mobile handset using Bluetooth.

The ‘Talk to the Hand’ gloves have been ‘upcycled’ – the process of converting waste materials or otherwise useless projects into a new item – by Miles and O2 Recycle as part of an ongoing look at what can be done with recycled gadgets.

The mobile gloves are the second project in a series the two have created. The first, the ‘Walkie Talkies’ combined vintage footwear with old handsets to create customised, fully-functional phones. Miles is also now working on combining phones with handbags.

O2 Recycle has estimated that there are 70 million unused mobile handsets in the UK with an additional 30 million new phones sold annually. The service pays up to £260 to those who recycle devices including phones, handheld consoles, SatNavs, MP3 players and digital cameras.

O2 Recycle head Bill Eyres said: “There’s a pressing need for all of us to look at old handsets – and all the gadgets that we move on from or upgrade each year, whether consoles or cameras – and think of them as a resource that we need to recycle responsibly rather than dispose of.

“We’ve all got a bit of a use and dispose of mentality when it comes to gadgets we no longer have use for, but in actual fact we all have a role to play in extending the lives of the devices we use. Not least because people like us at O2 Recycle will pay cash to those who do the green thing and recycle.”

Miles added: “I hope that my Talk to the Hand project will get people to think again about the waste created by not recycling gadgets. While these might not be for everyone, there are hundreds of other uses that old phones can be put to – from being reconditioned and used again to being mined for their components. If a few more people recycle their gadgets rather than send them to landfill, I think this project will have fulfilled its aim.”