Intelligent Energy

The Call2Recycle unwanted cell phones could be louder

The Call2Recycle unwanted cell phones could be louder

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Call2Recycle has collected nearly one million pounds of e-waste from unwanted cell phones. It could accomplish even more if carriers and manufacturers were more proactive about recycling.

Call2Recycle is nearing its goal of recycling 1 million pounds of cell phone batteries.

A two-year cell phone might work just fine, but technology churn is so rapid that it could easily evoke a bygone era. Thankfully, there is an industry-funded group dedicated to properly dispose of our unwanted cell phones, and it is ramping up its campaign to recycle over one million pounds of e-waste.

Call2Recycle is in the midst of a multi-city campaign in the United States that has resulted in the collection of more than 869,000 pounds of rechargeable batteries within the past three months. Cell phone batteries may contain cadmium and lithium; the EPA classifies cadmium as a probable human carcinogen.

Collection drives are forthcoming in Chicago, today (Sept. 23), in San Diego on Friday, and in Toronto on Saturday. Campaigns have been held nationwide, and Call2Recycle said in a recent press release that it has seen marked growth in recycling nationwide.

California, Minnesota and Vermont lead the pack, while many southern states have proven to be the fastest on the uptake by recycling as much as 99 percent more e-waste over last year. Call2Recycle does not charge for its services (many electronics recyclers do).

Of course, there is always room for improvement. I'm remiss to admit that I hadn't known about Call2Recycle before today, and I'm someone who is fairly environmentally conscious. Let's face it – many of us could be more dutiful about recycling our old electronics – myself included.

A quick visit to Call2Recycle's Web site revealed that I could drop my old cell phones off at my corner drug store. Learning where I could recycle electronics took some gumption before I discovered the site, so I'm pleased to have found a solution. My last e-waste recycling experience was far from convenient.

The City of New York's electronics recycling Web page was very out-of-date the last time I turned to it for guidance. My 'plan B' was to pack up and mail my old Blackberry off to company that oftentimes pays for used devices. I randomly learned about that option from an advertisement.

Recycling can be as simple as visiting your corner drug store. Why don't cell phone carrier and manufacturers be more proactive about informing customers where to recycle their obsolete devices? My guess is that many more people would like to know.

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David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure