Cell Phone Recycling Week makes it easy to go green

The EPA is continuing its popular Cell Phone Recycling Week, which runs from April 6 through April 12, and aims to educate consumers about the impact cell phone recycling can have on our environment. During this week the EPA and its 25 partners will go all out to better our environment and help people through easy cell phone recycling programs.

The environmental impact of cell phone recycling is pretty astounding with 2008's drive saving enough energy to power more than 2,000 homes for a year, but that's nothing when you take into account the effect of recycling 100 million cell phones at the end of their useful life. In all the U.S. could save enough energy to power more than 18,000 homes and prevent the creation of greenhouse gas equal to removing 28,000 cars from the roads!Given these facts, it's clear that recycling your old phone can have a tremendous impact on the environment, which is why the partners make it so easy to do; you don't even have to leave home. To participate you can request a pre-paid mailer from any major wireless provider or drop your old phones off at your closest store.

Recycling old phones is great but after 60 Minutes' e-waste recycling expose simply knowing how to turn in an old phone wasn't enough. So we went to National Cell Phone Recycling Week partner T-Mobile to find out what actually happens to your old electronics.

We found out that reuse is the primary goal for this program, with phones undergoing rigorous testing to see if they can be reused or repaired. In the event that a phone is, "beyond its useful life," it's sent to The Wireless Source, an ISO certified recycling company, where the phone is recycled in compliance with numerous regulations to recycle precious metals and keep toxic materials out of landfills.

Free responsible cell phone recycling isn't the only perq of National Cell Phone Recycling week. T-Mobile is planting trees for each customer who recycles a phone, goes paperless or upgrades to the Motorola Renew, which is made out of recycled water bottles and available free this week. Verizon is taking the opportunity to increase donations of phones to its Hopeline domestic violence phone program as well as providing awareness ribbons for store employees. Additionally many other carriers and manufacturers are sponsoring events of their own.

Any way you look at it, recycling your old phone is the right thing to do. And with so many opportunities to make sure it happens, you don't have any excuses for tossing it in the trash.

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