Be one of the three out of 100 who recycle their cell phones

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In a worldwide survey cellphone maker Nokia found that only 3% of people have ever recycled a cell phone and nearly half had never heard of such a thing. That's pretty pathetic after the huge efforts by manufacturers, retailers, governments, environmental groups and charities to make sure cellphones don't end up in landfills, where they leak lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic.

If all the 3 billion cell users worldwide recycled one phone (and on average we've gone through five), we would save 240,000 tons of raw material and cut the greenhouse gas equivalent of 4 million cars, Nokia Director of Environmental Affairs Markus Terho said in a statement. Some 85% of Nokia phones can be recycled. Some recycled cell phones go for parts and materials; others go to seniors or people in developing regions that might otherwise be cut off.

The big problem is that people just don't know what to do with their old phones. The survey of 6,500 people in 13 countries showed only 4% just threw them away. About 44% just kept them in a drawer with their other dead electronics. One fourth of us give them to somebody else and 16% try to sell them.
Several websites have popped up to give you cellphone recycling options. Here's the easy way to remember: just drop it off at Staples. It gives the money to the Sierra Club. Or go to any little cell phone carrier store and dump it off.

Your local zoo may be part of the Eco Cell Program, which is hoping to recycle more phones so that we don't have to dig up more Coltan in the Congo, where the precious substance has caused fighting in an area occupied by gorillas.

If you're up for something more complicated, you can send your old phone back to some makers, like Nokia and Apple. The Recycle for Us group lets you find a location or mail it in for free. Wireless Fundraiser has you donate your phone and give the proceeds to the group of your choice. CellPhoneBank.org gives your phone to someone who is in difficult circumstances and might need to call 911. Or you can just sell it on eBay or Craigslist (usually to somebody whose phone broke but who still has a long contract) or get cash from CellForCash.

Any of the above options sure beats keeping them in your junk drawer for years.
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