Does your family go through cell phones almost as fast as DVDs? Most of us get a new phone at least every two years, while the most gadget-happy might upgrade every year or so.
You probably already recycle cans, bottles and paper. You can add mobile phones to your list of family recyclables.
CTIA Wireless is an association for the wireless industry, and it's gotten onboard with the EPA's Plug-In to eCycling program. Its program, called Wireless…The New Recyclable, aims to help us find responsible ways to dispose of the electronic waste that today's households generate.
Participants, which include phone manufacturers and wireless carriers, have implemented take-back programs that follow EPA guidelines for the collection, transportation and recycling/materials recovery of wireless devices.
Cell phones contain valuable materials that can be re-used; they also contain some toxics that can pollute the environment if they're not disposed of properly
The plastics from recycled phones might show up in kitchen cabinets or lawn furniture, while the precious metals can be reused for circuit boards.
Most wireless network operators now take back unwanted mobile phones at any retail location. They may also provide mailing containers. When you drop your phone off a retail store or mail it back to your carrier or the manufacturer, they will typically ship them to a recycling facility for evaluation.
If It's in good working condition, your phone may be donated to charity. It may also be reconditioned or repaired and sold as refurbished at a lower price.
If the device has reached the end of its life, it's sent to a processing facility that recovers and reuses any materials it can.
If you'd like your unwanted cell phone to provide the most social value, consider donating it directly to a charity.
The Wireless FoundationThe Wireless Foundation's CALL TO PROTECT program collects used wireless phones to benefit victims of domestic violence. Donated phones are refurbished and sold to raise funds for the purchase of new, reliable phones and airtime to be distributed to domestic violence shelters nationwide. CALL TO PROTECT proceeds have also helped anti-domestic violence agencies expand national prevention and awareness programs.
Whole Foods has partnered with Turn Phones into Loans. This campaign is collecting one million cell phones to benefit the Chiapas Project that will support 100,000 women by offering them microcredit loans. Visit the Turn Phones into Loans website to request a baggie. You simply drop the phone into the postage-prepaid bag and pop it in the mail. Whole Foods also provides drop-off bins at their retail locations.
For more resources, check out RecycleWirelessPhones.com,
Before you get rid of your old cell phone, the CTIA advises three things:
- Terminate your service.
- Clear the phones memory of contacts and other stored information. To use a free data eraser, click here.
- Remove your phone's SIM card, if it has one. Phones that operate on GSM networks use SIM Cards. If you are not sure if your phone uses a SIM card, or if you need assistance removing your SIM card, contact your wireless provider.