Cell phones can be recycled, and there are many environmental benefits for doing so. Most cell phone users go through one every 18 months. Yet out of the 140,000 cell phones that are estimated to be retired each year, only one percent of these phones are being recycled. The other 99 percent of the world's used cell phones are neglected in drawers or are thrown away, to eventually be dumped in landfills.
Cell phones contain enough toxic materials (like arsenic, lead and flame retardants) inside of them to be considered hazardous waste by federal standards. When these materials are burned in incinerators at landfills, they release noxious greenhouse gases into the air, contributing to global warming. Most of these materials — especially precious metals — can be reused.
Recycling cell phones could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the use of precious metals, save energy and conserve natural resources. There are many programs one can find online that help recycle cell phones. (Photo: Shutterstock)