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Minitel online terminals recycled after three decades of use in France

Bruno Martin / Reuters

A man works near a stack of French Minitel terminals which are to be broken down into their components for recycling in Portet-Sur-Garonne, southwestern France on May 23. The Minitel, the box-like terminal with a keyboard and monochrome screen, was introduced on the market in 1982 by telecommunications operator France Telecom and used by the French to get information as a phone directory or to purchase train tickets. Although there are between 600,000 - 700,000 of the units still in use, the Minitel service will end on June 30, 2012.

Bruno Martin / Reuters

A man separates components from a French Minitel terminal which are to be broken down for recycling in Portet-Sur-Garonne

Bruno Martin / Reuters

Circuit boards from French Minitel terminals which are broken down into its components, are collected for recycling in Portet-Sur-Garonne, southwestern France.

According to Wikipedia, millions of the terminals were handed out free to telephone subscribers in France who then paid by the minute for their dialup use. 

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