The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging citizens to recycle their cell phones during the second annual National Cell Phone Recycling Week, April 5 – 11, 2010.
Currently, only about 10 percent of cell phones are recycled. If Americans recycled the approximately 130 million cell phones that are disposed of annually, enough energy would be saved to power more than 24,000 homes in a year.
Reusing or recycling cell phones helps the environment by saving energy and conserving resources. “Every recycled cell phone makes a difference,” said Maria Vickers, acting director of EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. “The energy saved by recycling even one cell phone is enough to power a laptop for 44 hours.”
Cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are made of precious metals, copper, and plastics. Recycling or reusing these devices conserves materials, prevents air and water pollution, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions that occur during manufacturing and processing. For every 1 million cell phones recycled, 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium, and 35,274 pounds of copper can be recovered.
Donating working cell phones or PDAs can also have social benefits for communities. Many existing recycling programs donate cell phones that are in good working order to charities or provide them to the public for discounted sale.