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What Should We Do With Our Old Phones?

2012 November 7

By Lina Younes

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With the advances in mobile technologies, it is hard not to buy one of these new smartphones. The marketplace has numerous mobile tools with the latest applications in wireless communication. These smartphones promise to do everything faster,  with a longer battery life and a higher resolution. So, when you finally decide to purchase a new mobile phone, what do you do with your old one that is still in good condition? You have two options:  You can donate it or even better yet, recycle it!

Cell phones have precious materials such as copper, silver, gold and palladium that can be recovered and recycled. By recycling these materials, you are conserving natural resources, avoiding air and water pollution as well as the emission of greenhouse gases that are generated during the manufacturing process of virgin materials. Did you know that in 2009, discarded electronics such as cell phones, TVs, computers, scanners, fax machines, and keyboards, among others, amounted to 2.37 million tons of electronic waste?

Many retailers across the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam have programs where you can drop off or mail in your used mobile phones. Also charitable organizations have cell phone recycling programs. So, find out more about cell phone recycling programs in your community. By recycling your used phone, you’ll be also protecting the environment and preventing precious resources from reaching your local landfill.

So, once you’ve bought your new mobile phone, are you interested in some apps and widgets that will help you learn more about your health and the environment? Here are some suggestions: Envirofacts Widgets,  AirNow Mobile app, UV Index appIndoor airPLUS,  Just some suggestions of great information technology at your fingertips.

Do you have any favorites that you would like to share with us? We always like to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. Gossip Bearer permalink
    November 9, 2012

    In my opinion…things that not already useful in you …you can give it to other people that they seems to be more useful to them..

  2. Chad permalink
    November 13, 2012

    I believe recycling old phones is a fantastic alternative to disposing phones that are no longer being used. To Gossip Bearer’s comment, providing others with an old phone would create an useful solution, but only to a certain extent. A limited amount of people who can afford a phone plan without a phone is minimal. Therefore, the recycling of phones could have the best benefit overall.

  3. Lina-EPA permalink*
    November 30, 2012

    Both options have there pro’s and con’s. Nonetheless, recycling is a win-win for the individuals and the environment. Thanks for commenting.

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