Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recycling Cell Phones

Did you know that this week is National Cell Phone Recycling Week? It sure is and not a moment too soon because there are so many unused phones that need to be recycled instead of being thrown in a landfill. I'm sure your parents have a cell phone or two they don't use anymore and what better to time to recycle them than this week?

So the official name of this campaign sponsored by the U.S EPA is "Plug-In To e-Recycling National Cell Phone Week" but you guys get the point. Through April 11, the campaign brings cell phone manufacturers and service providers together to educate consumers to recycle used cell phones, batteries, chargers, etc. All these items can be recycled but most aren't. Experts estimate that only 1% of the 4 billion wireless users worldwide recycle their old cell phones. In the U.S. only 1 in 10 cell phones are recycled.

All of this leads me to wonder where all these cell phones are that haven't been recycled. Are they in junk drawers or in landfills? Putting all that e-waste into landfills leads to the materials in the phones- copper, plastic, & heavy metals - leaching into the soil and water - yuk! All those reusable materials are going to waste. The EPA says that for every 1 million cell phones recycled, we can recover 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium, and 35,274 pounds of copper. Another problem with cell phones in landfills is that the batteries can explode if exposed to high temperatures or direct sunlight. E-waste doesn't belong in landfills any more than plastic does.

So how can you recycle your used cell phones? There are so many ways that there's really no excuse not to. The EPA is partnering with AT&T, Best Buy, LG Electronics, RecycleBank, Samsung Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless to recycle all the cell phones you,your family and friends have laying around the house.

AT&T has three simple ways to donate and recycle phones. Even if you're not an AT&T customer, you can still drop off used cell phones and accessories at any of their stores across the U.S. If you can't make it to an AT&T store, just go to www.att.com/recycle and download a free shipping label and mail your phone in for recycling. If you don't have a printer or if you're like Mom and are out of ink, you can request a postage-paid mailing envelope be mailed to you. I told you there's no excuse!

The best part of the AT&T recycling program is that they use funds from recycled cell phone to buy prepaid phone cards for active duty military members through the Cell Phones for Soldiers program. AT&T collects the phones and then sends them to ReCellular, the world's largest cell phone recycler. ReCellular in turn pays Cell Phones for Soldiers for each donated phone and the funds are used to buy the phone cards. How cool is that? The Cell Phones for Soldiers program was started by two teenagers and has already distributed more than 75,000 prepaid phone cards to soldiers overseas.

Sprint is the only major U.S. wireless carrier to offer in-store financial incentives to consumers for recycling their eligible devices regardless of make, manufacturer or carrier. Their buyback program offers an instant account credit to current and new customers who turn in up to three eligible devices per active line of service each year. To participate in this program without going to a retail store, log on to www.sprint.com/recycle.

Sprint's Project Connect program accepts all wireless phones, batteries, and accessories regardless of carrier or condition. This program is available to everyone and free postage-paid envelopes are available at any Sprint-owned retail store. You can also print free postage-paid mailing labels at www.sprint.com/recycle. All the proceeds collected help keep kids safer online through Sprint's 4NetSafetySM program. Charitable partners include the National Center for Missign & Exploited Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and the NEA Health Information Network.

ReCellular also works with other charities beside Cell Phones for Soldiers. Check out their recycling partners here.

CollectiveGood is similar to ReCellular and offers donations to several organizations in exchange for your cell phone.

ECO-CELL is yet another company that accepts used cell phones. They partner exclusively with conservation organizations and some of the workable phones are donated to hospitals in the Louisville Metro area so patients can make emergency calls.

You can always get some money for your old cell phone by selling it yourself or sending it to YouRenew. Enter your cell phone model details on their website and get a quote instantly. If your cell phone is a little old and out of date, a quote will be emailed to you. Even if your cell phone isn't worth anything, you can still send you phone to YouRenew and they will recycle it. YouRenew will even pay the postage.

Mom is only on her second cell phone ever so she only has one to recycle. I've lost count how many cell phones Dad has had. He also has piles of chargers and other phone accessories, so he needs to get with the recycling program. I hope you get with the program too because there's no excuse not to.


THE PUGLET said...

This is such a good thing to tell people! Our local pug rescue had a cell phone drive last year (they recycled the phones to raise money) and my human had FIVE dead phones lying around in some junk drawer.

I'm sure this post will get lots of dead phones out of the junk and into the green stream.

Apollo said...

My Mommy recycles her and Daddy's cell phones to a program that turns them into reusable emergency phones for women who have fled a domestic violence home.

Anonymous said...

We have sold off a few cell phones but mostly we are sitting on them still.
Which we do incase one gets broken or we will give them away. :)

But when we do our massive spring clean... maybe I will get them recycled!

Those Elgin Pugs said...

Hello My Stubby!

I read your bloggy and called(Hee Hee) Mommy and Daddy immediately to the living room for a family meeting!!! I tolds them that My Smart Stubby Man is at its again! Mommy said that last year she had given an old cell phone to a co-worker and Daddy was staring at the ceiling. Daddy is guilty of being an old cell phone hoarder. Daddy should really know better 'cuz Daddy use to be a cell phone technician. That's a doctor when your little phone gets sick with a cough or the flu. Daddy would gives them medicines (snorts.) Stubby, again, I am here to help and I can also make cell phone shaped cookies to aide in the cause.

Your Josie Girl

PugMoon - with, Bandit, Paisley, & Smokey pugs and their Mom Paula - PAPugMom said...

Right now I have many old cell phones stuck in a drawer. Will always keep one for back-up, but can take all the others in for recycle. Thanks for the heads up!

Stella, Gunther and Betty said...

Oh man, we have lot's of extra cell phone layin' around the house. Now we can tell mom and dad where to send 'em.

Stella, Gunther and Betty

Tweedles -- that's me said...

We donated all our old cell phones to the cell phone orphanage- so they can help peoples.

Debbie said...

This is a great idea - we have heaps of old phones - definitely thought provoking blog.

Stubby said...

Hi Puglet! That's so cool that your local pug rescue had a cell phone drive. I'm not surprised that your human had five dead phones. I can't wait to see how many Dad has. We are taking them in tomorrow.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Apollo! Your mommy is so darn smart! Donating to people that need them is so awesome.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Lex! Keeping a spare just in case is a good idea. Spring cleaning time is a great time to get rid of things you don't use that others could use.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Josie Girl! Thank you for calling your mommy and daddy to the 'puter when you read my bloggy. Shame on your daddy for hoarding cell phones. He should know better

Cell phone shaped cookies sound delicious. I think we may need some and soon!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Paula & gang! Backup cell phones are a great idea. I'm so glad you're going to recycle the ones you're not using.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Stella, Gunther & Betty! There seems to be a recurring theme here with our parents. What's up with that? I'm glad yours are going to recycle their old ones because they aren't doing any good sitting in the junk drawer.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! The cell phone orphange - what a great idea! It's great to know all those old phones are helping people. Way to go Tweedles!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Debbie! I'm glad you liked this post. It is always better to recycle items if possible rather than throwing them away or keeping them in junk drawers. As you could see, so many great causes benefit from cell phone recycling.

Stubby xoxo

Heather and Walter said...

man, now I know what to do with my used cell phone drawer! empty it out and recycle those chatterboxes!

Melissa and Emmitt said...

thank you for putting this list together of where and how to recycle our cell phones.

you are the best!

Pearl said...

Thanks for this info, sweet Stubby!

Momma has a few old phones laying around and she is planning on taking them to AT&T this weekend!!!!


Mike said...

I don't really care about the environmental aspect of recycling but if i can make a bit of money towards a new phone then getting rid of some old mobiles wont hurt so if you can even recycle mobile phones that are lying in a draw and in the back of a cupboard then i'm in for the price of a take out for me and the dog!