It took me a while to make friends with my Smart Phone. Now we are well past our two year anniversary and getting along swell. The greenest thing I have done with my phone so far is NOT upgrade it the minute I hit the 2-year trade-in mark. I know the newer phone is probably better, but I have dropped my peace sign cased Droid II so many times, and it still hasn’t broken up with me. I am in it until the end with this baby (or until I drop it in water like I did my last phone. On a side note, the rice trick did not work).
I came across an slightly older You Tube video titled “The Secret Life of Cell Phones”. The contents of the video are still relevant. It is under five minutes long and worth watching. It inspired me to do a little zipping around to learn more.
Cell phones in the trash are pretty much hazardous waste. Though not all cells phone contain lead anymore (though many still do), lead-free phones still are classified as hazardous waste under California regulations due to high levels of copper, nickel, antimony and zinc in the leachate. Cell phone batteries are typically composed of nickel and cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries. Cadmium alternatives contain lithium or lead. All of these are heavy metals that can potentially contaminate ground water, soil or surface water if they are mismanaged or sent to an improperly lined landfill, rather than recycled. That’s a problem and a whole new flavor of eco-offender from 10 years ago.
Once you know, you are responsible. Since you read this far, and maybe watched the vide0, you know cell phones don’t belong in landfills. Time to get solution orientated.
Recycle Your Old Phone
While a new phone is reason for celebration to be followed by maybe weeks of learning the language of a new device, what about your old phone? As you probably expected, I have gathered some ideas for you.
- Cell Phones for Soldiers is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing cost-free communication services to active duty military members and veterans. Since 2004 they have recycled more than 10.8 million cell phones, reducing the impact on landfills.
- The odds are good you know someone who would appreciate your old phone. Pass it along.
- Many Domestic Abuse shelters and advocacy programs have something in place to be sure cell phones are available to all participants, so they can call 911 if in danger. Call a local agency and see if your phone has value there.
- Sell your cells! Check out GUZU and see what your cell phone is worth (and other electronics while you are at it).
The EPA says for every 1 million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered. Wouldn’t it be nice if “WE BUY CELLPHONES” stores popped up all over? A tree hugger can dream can’t she? In addition to Guzu, here are some electronic recycling alternatives:
- Best Buy has a pretty solid “we will recycle that for you” program. Here are the FAQs .
- 1800recycling.com The go to on all things recycling! Love this site. Enter your zip code and voila!
- Recycle My Cellphone EarthWorks
Okay peeps, dial in with your comments below if you have additional great ideas to share!
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