Any of you who have an old cell phone sitting in a drawer somewhere because you didn't know what to do with it, raise your antenna.
In the last Eco-Logical, we talked about the mind-boggling number of cell phones being rendered obsolete every year and how this creates a disposal
problem—partly because of the sheer bulk of the waste, but mostly because of the toxic materials found in cell phones. So, what is a highly mobile, well connected cell-phone lover to do with a phone they no longer need?
Well, if you could go back in time, you could reconsider the waste issue when evaluating your current cellular-service package. True, you can't do that; but here in the present, you can include the disposal issue when considering whether or not to renew your current plan or go with a one. If your phone still works fine, choosing a plan that allows you to keep it is the best option from an environmental standpoint. If you do decide you want a new phone, you can still take the waste issue into account to avoid finding yourself in the same situation a year later. Don't accept a plan where the economically intelligent thing to do again will be to throw away a perfectly functioning phone.
Inevitably, at some point you will probably have a still-working but money-stupid cell phone on your hands. If so, you may be able to give it back to the manufacturer for reuse or recycling. Two major cell phone manufacturers, Nokia and Motorola, offer take-back programs. Or you can donate your phone to certain charitable organizations that can put them to good use. Resources:
There are other donation options, and new ones are likely to come up in the future. To find out how else you might find a good home for your old cell phone, or to figure out how to just recycle it, visit:
Finally, if it's the promise of cold, hard cash that perks up your antennas, search the internet for recycling companies that offer people a little green in their wallets in exchange for their end-of-life cell phones.
In grocery stores and restaurants, in traffic, and even sometimes while sitting on the can, cell phones are becoming an essential part of an efficient lifestyle for many people. Only you can prevent the flushing of dead cell phones!