April 6-12 is National Cell Phone Recycling Week

EPA is launching National Cell Phone Recycling Week April 6-12 in a joint effort between the agency’s Plug-In To eCycling program and leading cell phone manufacturers, retailers and service providers to increase national awareness about the importance of cell phone recycling.

“With Earth Day approaching, people are thinking about what they can do to give back to our planet,” said Matt Hale, director of EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. “Recycling your old cell phone is a great way to conserve resources and help make a greener world.”

Recycling or reusing cell phones helps the environment by saving energy and keeping reusable materials out of landfills. Cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are made of precious metals, copper, and plastics. Recycling or reusing them not only conserves these materials, it also prevents air and water pollution and reduces greenhouse gas emissions that occur during manufacturing and when extracting and processing virgin materials.

EPA pointed out that only 10 percent of unwanted cell phones were recycled in 2007 and encouraged consumers to increase the nation’s cell phone recycling rate. If Americans recycled the 100 million cell phones that are no longer being used, enough energy would be saved to power more than 18,500 homes for a year.

Donating cell phones or PDAs also can have social benefits for communities. In fact, many existing recycling programs donate cell phones that are in good working order to worthy charities, raise funds for charitable organizations or provide them for discounted sale.

To celebrate National Cell Phone Recycling Week, Plug-In partners across the country, including AT&T, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, are introducing a series of in-store promotions, contests and giveaways. The partners will provide in-store and online recycling opportunities for consumers.

Plug-In To eCycling is a voluntary partnership between EPA and electronics manufacturers, retailers, and service providers to offer consumers more opportunities to donate or recycle their used electronics. In 2007, as part of their commitment to the program, retailers and electronics manufacturers voluntarily recycled more than 47 million pounds of electronics, mostly computers and televisions.

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