Because technology changes so quickly, and more and more people are dropping their landlines, it’s not uncommon to have a drawer full of used, outdated cell phones. Millions of people use cell phones and most of those people, on average, get a new phone every two years. Throwing your cell phones in the trash is incredibly harmful to the environment and, with the ease of cell phone recycling, should be avoided at all costs.
Cell phones on the market today contain arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. Whether the cell phones are tossed in a landfill or thrown into an incinerator, these dangerous toxins are leached into the environment. When the toxins are introduced to our water supply, we, as humans, are put at higher risk for various types of cancers.
It has been approximated that only 12 percent of used cell phones are properly recycled each year. The rest end up in junk drawers and landfills. If you’ve got discarded phones taking up space in your desk drawer, here are five ways you can put them to good use:
1. Cell Phone for Soldiers: this group collects used cell phones, sells them to a recycling center and uses the proceeds to purchase calling cards for soldiers serving overseas.
2. Donate them: many shelters will accept gently used cell phones, activate them and hand them out to residents. This is particularly true of domestic violence shelters as these phones can help survivors get back on their feet.
3. Sell them: why not take those old cell phones and turn them into cold, hard cash? You can have a go at selling them on your own or trade them in into a site like Amazon.com for store credit.
4. Fundraise: many buy-back websites will help you set up a fundraiser for your school or organization. Send out a flyer and ask that people bring their used cell phones for donation. Once you’ve collected several, send them in and earn money for your program.
5. Recycle: you can directly recycle your used cell phones. Many localities have electronics recycling days or you can simply find a site online who will dispose of your cell phone, once received, in an environmentally responsible manner.
Toxins in cell phones are not only hazardous for humans, they are hazardous for the environment as well. From soil damage to water pollution, the toxins leached into our environment can have far-reaching, detrimental effects. Gather up your used cell phones and recycle them; it’s the green thing to do.
About the Author
Author Stephanie Sanders is a communications consultant and writes for a mobile phone site in the UK, offering all the latest phones and plans.