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Donate or Recycle Your Old Cell Phone

March 21, 2014

Donate or Recycle Your Old Cell Phone

Most Americans get a new cell phone every 18 to 24 months, but only about 10% of the cell phones in the U.S. are recycled. Next time you get a new cell phone, don't discard your old one. Recycle it or, if the cell phone and its accessories are still in good working order, donate them to a program that will offer them to someone less fortunate. Some recycling programs also work with schools or community organizations to collect cell phones as fundraising ventures.

Local Donation Opportunities

Students Recycling Used Technology (StRUT) is a not for profit organization that provides technology education, resources and recycling to many different types of schools across Oregon, Arizona and California.

Drop Off Your Phone to SBDC and We'll Donate It for You!

Bring your old phone to Amanda Bernal in SBDC/Resource Development, room 2.108 on The Dalles Campus, and the Green Team will donate it to HAVEN or StRUT for you.

Five Good Reasons to Recycle Cell Phones

  1. Recycling just one cell phone saves enough energy to power a laptop for 44 hours.
  2. If Americans recycled all of the 130 million cell phones that are tossed aside annually in the U.S., we could save enough energy to power more than 24,000 homes for a year.
  3. For every one million cell phones recycled, we can recover 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium, and 35,274 pounds of copper; cell phones also contain tin, zinc and platinum.
  4. Recycling one million cell phones also saves enough energy to provide electricity to 185 U.S. households for a year.
  5. Cell phones, PDAs and other electronic devices also contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and brominated flame retardants. Many of those materials can be recycled and reused; none of them should go into landfills where they can contaminate air, soil and groundwater.

How are Materials from Recycled Cell Phones Used?

  1. Almost all of the materials used to manufacture cell phones—metals, plastics and rechargeable batteries—can be recovered and used to make new products.
  2. Metals recovered from recycled cell phones are used in many different industries such as jewelry making, electronics and automotive manufacturing.
  3. Recovered plastics are recycled into plastic components for new electronic devices and other plastic products such as garden furniture, plastic packaging and auto parts.
  4. When rechargeable cell-phone batteries can no longer be reused, they can be recycled to make other rechargeable battery products.

*Source: Larry West, Environmental Issues