How to Combat Cell Phone Pollution


Most individuals are aware of the basic methods of recycling which serves to mitigate daily damage done to the environment. Common practices are the recycling of aluminum cans, the turning off of lights when the room is left, and the turning off of water while brushing teeth. Despite this, the Environmental Protection Agency has reported that discarded televisions, cell phones and computers consist of approximately 2.25 million tons, only 18 percent of which is reported to be recycled. The rest of these items are typically dumped into landfills.

Most people do not realize how essential the recycling of cell phones is.

Sell Your Used Cell Phone

Selling an old phone both helps the environment as well as provides the seller the opportunity to make some money. Several companies exist today which specialize in the purchasing of used cell phones in order to recycle, refurbish, and resell them. Many of these companies will provide the seller with a list of old phone models along with their current value. The seller would then select the phone that they are trying to sell and complete a form for the company. The company often provides the envelope which the seller will use to mail the phone. Once the phone is received by the reseller, they will run several tests in order to ascertain the condition of the phone. After this is done, the seller will receive prompt payment for his/her phone.

Several companies resell these phones at a lower price to poorer countries of the world and to rural areas which benefit greatly from the use of these cell phones. The addition of cell phones also increases various job opportunities in rural and poor communities.

In some cases, it may not be possible for the damaged phones to be brought back to working condition. If this occurs, the phones can be sent to companies which recycle. There, the phones are tested and it is determined whether or not they are able to be refurbished, whether certain parts can be removed and used, or whether the phone can simply be recycled. Even phones which have been irreparably damaged can be used for their plastic and mineral components.

Donate Your Used Cell Phone

There are several locations to which used cell phones can be donated. Many manufacturers, cell phone retail stores, charities, network carriers, as well as solid waste companies have established these donation and/or recycling programs. A great example is the program entitled Donate Cell Phones for a Soldier. As the name implies, this program donates used cell phones to soldiers who can personally benefit from their use. Most of these programs allow you to securely erase your personal data from the phone. Some other examples of these programs include the Hewlett-Packard Trade-In Program, LG Electronics Free Mail-In Recycling Program, NEC Display Solutions Total Trade Program, Best Buy Electronics Recycling Program, and Verizon Wireless’ Hope Line Program.

Choose “Sim Card Only” Deals

Many phones are now available which can be run on different SIM cards. Therefore, instead of using a new phone, a new SIM card can simply be inserted into the old phone, which can be reused. These plans allow the user to text more as well as receive more minutes in comparison with other plans lasting 30 days.

Incentives for “Green” Broadband

Several companies, such as Green Mobile and Landline Company, offer green incentives such as agreeing to plant trees when a customer signs on to the service or donating a percentage of the customer’s bill to conservation groups and programs. Another such company is the Apple Computer Corporation which provides 100 percent recyclable laptops to broadband users.

Use a Smartphone

Smartphone plays an integral role in the environment by providing devices which can serve numerous purposes, thereby removing the need to purchase numerous electronic devices that provide music players, phones, cameras, internet browsing capabilities, clocks, and video recorders. This multi-purpose technology eliminates large amounts of potential waste and toxic materials which would otherwise enter our environment when these extraneous devices are discarded.

Green Apps

There is great apps for your Smartphone that will help you on your path to green nirvana. They range from information and tips for a more eco friendly lifestyle and directories of the most environmentally conscious businesses in your local area to product scanners to help you check the environmental impact of any product before buying it. Green apps can be an essential way to make your lifestyle more environmentally healthy. There is also an app to help you stop overcharging your Smartphone, which is just unnecessary energy usage, and an app to even help you become more environmentally conscious driver. There is a full list of Green Apps to check out over at Tech Bible Techcrunch.

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by James Helliwell of Firespin from London, UK.