A “must-have” today is a mobile phone; a “must-do” is mobile phone recycling. The mobile phone, commonly referred to as a cell phone, is spreading faster than any other information technology. From teeny bopper to senior citizen, the cell phone has become a necessary accessory. In the United States alone there are more than two hundred and eighty million cell phone users, with slightly over four billion worldwide.
On average, cell phone users in the United States purchase a new cell phone every eighteen months, in Europe every fifteen months — and in Japan every nine months. When the first generation of iPhones came out, tens of thousands of people lined up to purchase one. With the release of these smart phones, like the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and a host of others, people who consider these a “must have” probably already own a mobile phone, which they will need to discard.
Toxic Mobile Phones
Tossing a mobile phone in the trash, however, could have negative implications for the environment. Because cell phones contain a very high level of toxic substances, they are considered a hazardous waste. In fact, the EPA has listed the chemicals contained in a cell phone as persistent toxins, meaning they do not readily break down and remain in the environment for years.
Cell phones are some of the most toxic products being thrown into household trash cans. These and other throwaway electronic devices are called e-trash. Cell phones are the most troublesome of the e-trash because there are so many used ones that are small enough to toss into a trash can without a thought.
Discarding Old Phones
Entrepreneurs and volunteer groups alike are establishing centers where people can donate or sell their old mobile phones.
Protect Your Privacy
Be sure to reformat your phone and erase all of your personal data before selling or donating your phone. Many people suggest reformatting it back to factory settings at least two times.