Completed #65 — Recycle My Old Cell Phone

May 19, 2009 by

It is very easy to recycle an old cell phone, and waaaay better than letting it end up in a landfill.

Some alarming facts about cell phones you might not know:

  • Cell phones in landfills can leach toxics into the environment.
  • The potential human health and environmental impacts of cell phone waste is grim.
  • Cell phones are potentially hazardous waste because they contain lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. If thrown in the trash and sent to incinerators or landfills, environmental contamination can occur from combustion and leaching into soil and groundwater.
  • Sadly, less than 2% of old cell phones are being recycled today — we are calling on the public to help raise the profile of this important issue!
  • The EPA estimates cell phones will be thrown away at a rate of 130 million a year by 2005 that equals 65,000 tons of waste containing toxic metals!
  • There are more than 500 million used cell phones in the U.S. sitting in people’s drawers or in our landfills.

So if it’s so easy, you may wonder why I’ve had my old Nokia 6682 and its accompanying wall and car chargers hanging around my apartment doing nothing since I got my iPhone in October ’08.  This is a very good question, and the answer is not that I had a secret use for the old Nokia.  The answer is that I am sometimes very lazy and in the midst of doing all the things that I need to do and want to do, I let slip those things I should do.  Like aid the planet.
But not today.
Today I stepped up to the plate.

You can take your old cell phone into any AT&T, Best Buy, or Office Depot store and drop it off to be recycled.  Also, you can donate it to soldiers overseas by dropping it off at the USO on Navy Pier, or you can donate it to any number of charities by checking out this website.
Me, I just dropped it off at the AT&T on State street.  Again, lazy. But it’s not putting chemicals into a landfill, right?  Right?

I remember how happy I was when I got Nokia 6682, right after I moved to Chicago nearly 3 years ago.  I got off my parents’ cell phone plan and Nokia 6682 and I struck out on our own.  We had a really good run for about 2 years, then Nokia 6682 became…somewhat unreliable.  And I was seduced by the charms of the iPhone, I can admit that.  It came to an amicable end, and we even continued to co-habitate for another seven months in peace.  But today, we took our last El ride together.  Into the Loop, where we had spent so much time together over the years.

I got jobs on that phone, broke up on that phone, called my parents crying on that phone, made dates on that phone, got hysterical text messages on that phone, and today, I recycled that phone.  Farwell, Nokia 6682.  You’re off to a better place, not polluting the planet.

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