Ecofriendly Tip: Recycling Your Kids’ Cell Phones

Rules, rules, rules!  If your kids just returned to school, you’re busy filling out forms and signing permission slips.  Included in the annual barrage of paperwork is a list of school rules—many which never applied to our own school days.  For instance, students are not permitted to have cell phones in the classroom.  Cell phones must be placed in lockers, or they are confiscated.  In our day, one only needed to avoid chewing gum, running in halls, and passing notes to fellow classmates.  Who passes notes these days when texting is more apropos?

In a generation when cell phones have become a youngster’s extra appendage, parents are pressured to keep their children equipped with the latest and greatest technological devices.  If you find yourself replacing cell phones frequently, it’s important you get the scoop on cell phone recycling.  The average North American changes cell phones every 18 to 24 months, creating 65,000 tons of e-waste from 125 million cell phones annually.  Since cell phones contain hazardous materials, it’s imperative they are disposed of properly.

Cell phone recycling is easy and convenient.  The EPA lists retailers on their website that accept cell phones for recycling.  Visit  http://www.epa.gov/osw/partnerships/plugin/cellphone/ to find the nearest provider.  Along with your cell phone, you can also drop off PDA’s, cell phone chargers, and cell phone batteries.  Just remember to cancel your cell phone service and erase the stored data before turning it in for recycling.   The EPA also relates this interesting statistic:  recycling one million cell phones saves enough energy to power more than 185 US households with electricity for one year.    Not only does recycling your cell phone eliminate hazardous e-waste, but it also conserves energy!

Cell phone collection sites can also be established in school s as district fundraisers.   In addition to cash incentives, many companies offer additional rewards, educational kits, and green curriculum ideas for teachers.  To browse the extensive list of available programs to select the one most suited for your school’s needs, do a simple Google search on “cell phone recycling fundraiser.”

Though it may not be worth your while unless you have a stockpile of old cell phones, you can earn cash for recycling your cell phones through select dealers.  Do another Google search on “cell phone recycling for cash,” and you will find sites where you can enter your cell phone model to learn how much you can earn.

What happens to cell phones when they are recycled?  Some cell phones are refurbished for resale.  Others are stripped of components, which are then used for new products.  Many cell phones are refurbished for use in developing countries to help bridge the digital divide.   Any component that is not reused in some way is safely and responsibly disposed of.

We live in a technologically advanced society and need to implement strategies to eliminate the mountains of e-waste we are creating.  It’s time we think of cell phones like we do our plastics, aluminum cans, and paper we place at the curb for recycling.  Think twice before tossing electronic devices into your regular garbage.

To encourage proper cell phone use and recycling in your schools or community, contact Target Marketing Group about our recycled tire PDA/cell phone holders, and distribute these environmentally sound incentives during your next event.  Check them out: http://www.recycledpromos.com/EcoProducts/tabid/573/ShowView/2/owner/902001/number/317/Default.aspx

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