Glove-phones offer a way to turn old gadgets into once again desirable items

Phone-gloves project upcycles discarded mobiles

Recycled mobile phones have been given a fashionable new lease of life as part of an "upcycling" collaboration between O2 Recycling and artist Sean Miles.

Part of the O2 Recycle project, the phone-gloves offer a way to turn old gadgets that would otherwise have gone to waste into once again desirable items. They can be connected through Bluetooth to any existing mobile phone handset, which is resting, for example, in the user's pocket. 

The wearer can make calls using their gloved hand, held in the shape of an imaginary telephone, courtesy of a speaker unit embedded in the thumb and a microphone in the little finger.

Dubbed “Talk to the Hand,” the gloves were created by Miles, who has used Mui Mui and Pineider gloves and combined them with parts from mobile handsets recycled through O2. 

“I hope that my Talk to the Hand project will get people to think again about the waste created by not recycling gadgets,” Sean Miles said. “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.”

According to O2 Recycle, there are already 70 million unused mobile handsets in the UK and there are an additional 30 million new phones sold annually. O2 Recycle, which is part of the O2 Think Big environment initiative, offers cash payments for those who find new and creative ways to recycle not just phones, but also tablets, MP3 players, handheld consoles, digital cameras and SatNavs.

“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," said Bill Eyres, head of O2 Recycle. "Not least because people like us at O2 Recycle will pay cash to those who do the green thing and recycle.”

The “Talk to the Hand” mobile phone gloves are the second product in a series that O2 Recycle and Miles have created. The first were “Walkie Talkies” combining vintage footwear (including a brogue, Nike Air trainer, Hunter Wellies and a Christian Louboutin high heel shoe) with old handsets to create customised, fully-functional phones.

Miles is now working on combining phones with handbags – so people don’t spend time rummaging around in their bags to find a phone when it rings.

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