What to do with that old phone

Recycla has a daughter who is about to turn 13. For some reason, Junior Miss Recycla thinks that 13 is a good age to have a cell phone. Recycla and her Mr. aren’t so sure, but they’re discussing the cell phone issue and trying to decide when to take the plunge. The fact is, the daughter in question is in middle school and has after school activities and sports practices; in addition, she has begun the time-honored ritual of babysitting for extra cash. Recycla would prefer that her daughter have a phone tucked into her jeans pocket whenever she ventures out into the world on her own. For now, whenever Junior Miss Recycla bikes off for her summer babysitting job, she borrows one of her parents’ cell phones.

On a related note, Mr. Recycla has an old flip phone that does not have a texting function. Once the daughter has a phone, Recycla thinks that everyone in the family with a cell phone should be able to send and receive texts in order to aid communications. Therefore, Mr. Recycla is going to have to upgrade this phone too.

And that’s what this post is about — what to do with old cell phones. Whatever you do, don’t throw it in the trash! Since cell phones contain lead, cadmium, mercury, beryllium and arsenic, they become toxic waste when they end up in a landfill. By recycling your phone, you help to protect local water and food supplies from toxins, while making industry less dependent on destructive new mining for metals. And did you know that it’s illegal to drop cell phones into the trash in California?

Luckily, more and more places are accepting old cell phones, which are then sent off to be recycled. You can drop your old phone off at Best Buy and Staples, as well as other electronics stores. Some stores accept old phones at no cost, while others charge a small fee. You can also check Earth 911 and the EPA for other places where you can recycle your phone. Recycla just checked Earth 911 for cell phone drop-off spots in her zip code and found many options, including a few that are walking distance from her house.

If you want to do good while recycling, there’s another option. Send your old cell phone to Cell Phones for Soldiers — a nonprofit founded by two kids that accepts all models of phones (even really old ones) and sells them to a recycling company. Proceeds  go to buy calling cards for U.S. soldiers abroad so that they can call their families. Go to the website to get more information, as well as print a free postage label for mailing your phone.

Recycla just realized that she already has two cell phones sitting useless in a drawer; she’ll be sending them off for recycling soon!

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4 thoughts on “What to do with that old phone

  1. Other charitable idea – a lot of women’s shelters accept cell phone donations to give to the women they’re sheltering. When you’ve been the target of domestic abuse and you can’t afford a cell phone on your own, having one provided for you could save your life.

  2. I gave my old phone to Rachel to play with. It’s now her pretend cellphone. When she gets tired of it, and I know she will, I’ll bring it to work. We have a station in the foyer of our building where you can drop off batteries for recycling and they also accept cell phones.

  3. Over in the UK, we have constant ads about old mobile phones and what to do with them. As annoying as they ads are, at least I know if I have an old mobile (cell phone) then I can send it there and get paid for it! There’s loads of companies offering cash for old mobiles over here. I guess they do the same thing and then sell them off for recycling… Not quite sure who is benefiting or making money out of it though. I think I’ll have to look into it and see what these companies actually do with the phones after they’ve bought them off the public…

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