by Megan Hirt
In a drawer, on a dusty shelf: Somewhere in your home, you probably
have a graveyard of old electronics. At the least, you likely have an
old cell phone, which is the device retired the fastest according to
Consumers Union ( http://www.consumersunion.org/ ).
More than 750 million ( http://www.collectivegood.com/environmental.asp )
cell phones lay unused in the United States, and the small devices can have
big effects on our health if, when evicted from the drawer, they are
disposed of in landfills rather than recycled properly. Like
computers and televisions, cell phones contain lead and mercury, two
elements that cause damage to the brain and peripheral nervous system
if they enter our water supply via landfills.
So how can you get rid of an old phone and ensure that its toxic
components don't end up in a landfill? Consider recycling it through
one of the following free and easy services.
Most Best Buy ( http://www.bestbuy.com/ ) stores have recycling
kiosks located near the front entrance where shoppers can drop off
cell phones, pagers, ink cartridges and batteries to be recycled in
accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency's electronic
Call to Protect
Proceeds from the sale of donated cell phones go to organizations
fighting domestic violence, and phones that can be reused are given
to domestic violence survivors. You can mail your phone and its
accessories to Call to Protect
or find a nearby drop-off location
Donated phones are tax deductible.
The CollectiveGood.com Trio
CollectiveGood.com ( http://www.collectivegood.com/ ): You
choose a charity to receive the value of your unwanted phone from a
list of more than 500 organizations. If you would like to receive a
donation acknowledgement from your chosen charity, you must include
your contact information when registering on the site. If you prefer
not to send a phone yourself, you can take it to a CollectiveGood.com
drop-off at any Staples or FedEx Kinko's in the United States.
GreenPhone.com ( http://www.greenphone.com/ ): A new division of the
CollectiveGood.com, this service will actually buy your old phone,
and for each phone it purchases from the public, GreenPhone.com
plants a tree in Africa, Central or South America, or in areas of U.S.
national parks damaged by wildfire.
RIPMobile.com ( http://www.ripmobile.com/ ): This service pays
for used cell phones in the form of gift certificates to businesses
such as Circuit City ( http://www.circuitcity.com/ ) and Blooming
Lotus ( http://www.bloominglotus.com/ ), an organic body care shop.
Or you can have the value of your phone credited to a free PayPal
Follow simple registration steps on CollectiveGood.com,
GreenPhone.com and RIPMobile.com to generate a form that you print
and mail in with your phone and its accessories, along with a free
shipping label. Phones that have resell value are cleared of all data,
refurbished and sold at a low price throughout developing areas in
Latin America, Eastern Europe and Western Asia. This is how each
service gets the money for your phone that it passes along to you or
your chosen charity. Phones that have no resell value are recycled
under a no-landfill policy and in accordance with EPA electronic
waste standards. The CollectiveGood.com gang can only pay for working
phones, but they can recycle all mobile devices, so send in whatever
Remember to disconnect service before donating your cell phone to any
of the services mentioned above. It's also a good idea to remove all
private data from your unwanted cell phone, although the services
will do that for you.
Have you recycled an old cell phone or electronic device? Share your
experience by posting a comment.
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