Relics of a technological past were on show in Civic on Thursday as Canberrans were asked to bring in old mobile phones for recycling.
The National Recycling Week initiative was to raise awareness about recycling common household objects and organisers' hoped to set a world record for the most phones recycled in one go.
There wasn't a previous world record, so that would not be difficult to achieve, but the more important achievement was to set a benchmark that other communities could challenge for the envrionment's benefit.
Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said it was a fun opportunity to send home the message of the importance of recycling.
"Everyone's gone through a few mobile phones over the years as the models get updated or the screens get smashed, so rather than just wasting the phone they can be reused," Mr Rattenbury said.
He said mobile phones include precious metals and useful materials such as gold, silver, copper, glass and aluminium which can be extracted and reused in other electronics.
By lunch time the team at City Walk had collected 214 phones and expected plenty more throughout the afternoon.
Mobile phone accessories such as charges, cases, ear pieces, car kits and batteries were also being accepted.
The Environment Directorate's senior director of sustainability programs, Ros Malouf, said it had been fun watching the children and some younger staff members inspect the old "brick" phones fished out of people's junk drawers.
"We're not sure whether people realise [mobile phones] can be recycled considering the age of some of the phones we're getting in here, they've been in that drawer for a fair while," Ms Malouf said.
"We want to raise awareness that you don't just have to recycle every fortnight at home you can actually think outside the box and recycle things you use."
Ten-year-old Samuel Malouf was part of the contingent from ACT schools taking part in the initiative.
He was amazed by the phones that looked "centuries" old and said he and fellow students had reached out to family members to source as many old phones as possible.
"If you just throw them out they'll go to landfill and just become waste," Samuel said.
Mr Rattenbury said schools and young people were extremely committed to sustainability and trying new recycling ideas.
He said the most sustainable thing people could do would be to hold onto phones for as long as possible instead of upgrading with every new model.
"I've managed to keep a number of mine for five or six years," Mr Rattenbury said.
"But when you do get a new one make sure you get the old one recycled."
Mr Rattenbury said the ACT community was committed to sustainability and to protecting the environment from issues such as climate change.
"I'm really inspired that our community understands these things need to be done and it means that government can take strong leadership," he said.
"They frankly expect us to do it and I find that really inspiring to know the community's with us on these important initiatives."
Ms Malouf said the government would be launching a reusable coffee cup scheme in early December.
The phone drop is open until 8pm at City Walk, near the fountain.
People are encouraged to get to the city with an old mobile phone and be part of the world record attempt.