During 2007, American set aside an estimated 100 million cell phones: some of them broke, some of them just got old, and a bunch of them were simply set aside when a newer-and-cooler must-have phone came along. Of those 100 million phones, only about 10 percent were recycled, meaning the copper, metals, and plastics that could have been recovered from those handsets and used in other products is sitting unused in a drawer somewhere…or worse, leeching into ground water in a landfill somewhere.
To boost consumer awareness of cell phone recycling efforts, the Environmental Protection Agency and commercial partners like Samsung, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless are kicking off National Cell Phone Recycling Week April 6 through 12. The program offers detailed recycling information as well as special online and in-store promotions to encourage people to recycle rather than discard their unwanted phones.
“As America prepares to celebrate Earth Day, many people question how they can do their part and give back to our planet,” said the Director of the EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery Matt Hale, in a statement. “Recycling your old cell phone or PDA is an easy way to help America green our nation.”
Special events associated with National Cell Phone Recycling Week include Samsung handing out phone recycling envelopes, increased online and in-store materials emphasizing cell phone recycling, and other special events: for instance, Nokia is giving away tickets to the IMAX feature Wild Ocean for cell phones recycled at its New York and Chicago stores. The National Cell Phone Recycling Week Web site has information on events, along with mail-in and in-person recycling programs. If recycling a working cell phone seems wasteful somehow, many areas offer programs that take still-working phones and donate them to women’s shelters and other charities and non-profits to help the disadvantages retain access to 911 and other essential services.