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May 20, 2018  |  Login

Recycle Old Cell Phones

Recycle your old cell phone to save natural resources and prevent landfill waste.

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Did you know that cell phones can be recycled?  Many people don’t.  In fact, the EPA estimates that fewer than 20% of the cell phones that can be recycled each year actually are.  Even if people know that it is possible to recycle old phones, many still don’t know how or where to recycle them. Recycling cell phones can help reduce some seriously scary stuff from entering your environment.  Cell phones contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and arsenic, which, if left to languish in a landfill, can leach into the earth or water.  The plastics and metals that cell phones also contain require large amounts of energy to manufacture. According to the EPA, recycling just a million cell phones a year would cause a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equal to removing 1,368 cars from the road.  All parts of a cell phone can be recycled in some cases, including the battery, the charger, and the box the phone comes in.
Recycling a cell phone can have social impact as well.  When phones are donated in good working condition, some programs donate them to worthy charities that provide cell phones for the underprivileged.  Most cell phone stores have teamed up with the EPA to encourage people to donate their old phones.  There are many other, smaller organizations and charities that will collect your old phone.  Recycling your old phone is an easy and powerful way to make a large, positive impact—so keep your eyes open, and find a home for your phone when the time comes to get a new one.


Take Action / Next Steps
  • The EPA has compiled this handy list of links to places where you can recycle your cell phone.  Check it out to find how you can put your old phone to good use.


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Did You Know?

Click below for more facts about this tip.



1.CTIA – The Wireless Association. “Wireless…The New Recyclable.” Available from: [5 August 2008]

2.Deutsch, Claudia H. [8 January 2008] “E.P.A. Seeks New Life for Old Cellphones.” The New York Times. Available from: [5 August 2008]

3.US EPA. “Recycle Your Cell Phone. It’s an Easy Call.” Available from: [5 August 2008]

4.Earthworks. “Why Recycle My Cell Phone?”

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