Thursday, March 1, 2007

Hello? This is the hazardous waste in your cell phone calling.

An estimated 100 million people in the U.S. own a cell phone. Industry research shows that most people upgrade cells phones every two years.

What do you do with that little plastic box full of electronic gizmos once you upgrade? Most of us toss it in a drawer for future disposal or dump it in the trash where it ends up in a landfill.

Cute husband uses the drawer method, while I used to throw directly in the garbage. One of the subtle, yet wonderful differences between us.
I digress.

The problem is that toxic chemicals (PBTs) such as arsenic, lead, nickel and zinc along with other hazardous substances make up the internal gadgetry of cell phones. These chemicals and substances can eventually leach into the soil or drift in the wind and end up in our water supply.

Not to mention that cell phones, PDAs and computer are not biodegradable and add tons of waste to landfills.

The National Wildlife Federation has a solution. You can send NWF and their partner, Access Recycling, obsolete cell phones, toner cartridges, laptops and other computer accessories. They will then remanufacture, refurbish, recycle or reuse your old unwanted toys.
(Isn’t “re” the best prefix?)

If you have a couple of cell phones to dispose of, email NWF at and they will send you a postage paid bag to mail in your phone. See the NWF website for recycling larger quantities or other equipment.

In addition to reducing the landfill hazards, recycling the metals used in cell phones saves the energy of mining new metallic ores and also the impact of mining on the environment.

You can also check out Earth 911 to find local schools and charities who can reuse your equipment if it is in good working order.

Once you have sent your equipment for recycle or reuse, close the loop. Buy something made from recycled materials.

Very responsible, not to mention very good for your karma!

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