Recycle Cell Phones
By: Sharon Housley
Technological advancements providing users with improved reception through integrated antenna systems, reduced size and weight of cell phones, along with numerous feature sets, and storage improvements have caused the bulk of cellular phone users and enthusiasts to upgrade to new and improved handsets. The low cost of cell phones and the added technological improvements mean that the majority of cellular phone users are on their 2nd or 3rd generation hand set.
What many don't realize is that in many cases, the materials used to construct cell phones are toxic. Toxic elements found in many of today's cell phones can include arsenic, in semi-conductors and lead in the solder material. While the materials in a single phone are minimal consider the number of discarded cell phones in the relatively short time the technology has been available. The placement of these devices in landfills will cause long lasting damage and harm to the environment.
Recycling aged wireless equipment is a sensible alternative. Valuable materials can be recovered from used wireless devices in a number of different ways. In some cases, certain components may be separated by manual or simple mechanical means. The components can often be reused or melted down for alternative uses.
Cell Phone Disposal - What Options Exist?
The cell phone industry, understanding concerns related to the disposal of cell phones and PDAs have created alternatives to both refurbish and recycle the materials in older style cellular phones.
ReCellular Inc. is the largest recycler and reseller of used wireless phones and accessories in the wireless industry. A pioneer in charitable recycling arrangements, ReCellular has well-established partnerships with Easter Seals, the March of Dimes, and National Organization on Disability, Goodwill Industries, and The Body Shop. In addition, over 2,000 grassroots organizations from Boy Scout troops to religious organizations around the country work to collect wireless phones to support their philanthropic efforts. Charities can raise funds by increasing community awareness and acting as a wireless collection center.
Wireless Foundation refurbishes and provides cell phones to victims of domestic violence so that they can be used in the event of an emergency. The Call To Protect campaign also collects wireless phones to benefit victims of domestic violence. Proceeds from the sale of phones help fund agencies that fight domestic violence and are used to support educational efforts of the Wireless Foundation. Other phones are refurbished and become lifelines for domestic violence victims when faced with an emergency situation.
Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA*) and its member companies are committed to the goal of sustainable development and the environmentally sound management of their wireless products at end-of-life. Through its Wireless . . . The New Recyclable program, CTIA is educating the public on the options available for properly recycling used wireless devices. The program seeks to promote the collection of used wireless devices and ensure that collected wireless products will be managed properly. The site provides a directory of collection options.
Through the Cingular Wireless Reuse & Recycle program, consumers are invited to bring unwanted wireless phones, accessories and batteries (regardless of the manufacturer or carrier) to an Cingular Wireless retail store for recycling. Cingular Wireless is the first wireless carrier to partner with Keep America Beautiful, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that focuses on waste impact minimization, litter prevention, beautification, community improvement and improvement of public places. Proceeds from the recycling of wireless phones, batteries and accessories are donated to Keep America Beautiful.
RBRC's Call2Recycle™ program collects used cellular phones to benefit the environment and charitable organizations. With the help of consumers and 30,000 participating retail locations, RBRC's do their part in helping to keep cell phones out of the landfills.
The HopeLine phone recycling program is an exclusive program that uses wireless services and equipment to assist victims in emergency domestic violence situations. HopeLine collects wireless phones that are no longer being used. The used phones are either refurbished and recycled or sold. With the funds raised from the sale of the refurbished phones, Verizon Wireless purchases wireless phones and donates airtime to victims of domestic violence through human services and law enforcement agencies.
Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage, Inc. http://www.notepage.net/ a company specializing in alphanumeric paging, SMS and wireless messaging software solutions. Other sites by Sharon can be found at http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com/, and http://www.small-business-software.net/.