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Put Old Cellphones to Good Use (online only)
September 2011
By Family Features

When you get a new cellphone or wireless device, what happens to the old one? Instead of letting it clutter up drawer space, put it to good use by recycling it.

In a survey conducted by MyWireless.org in March 2011, more than 84 percent of people indicated they were aware that their cellphones or wireless devices were recyclable. More than 68 percent were aware that their wireless accessories were recyclable. But only about 54 percent of them had donated or recycled an old device or accessory.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, recycling one million cellphones saves enough energy to power more than 185 U.S. households with electricity for a year. Here’s what else recycling wireless devices can do:

Recycling helps the environment by saving energy and keeping usable materials out of landfills.

Cellphones and other devices are made of precious metals, copper, and plastics – all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Recycling conserves the precious metals that make up these devices, so that they can be turned into new products.

Metals recovered in the recycling process – such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium, copper, tin and zinc – are used by industries such as automotive, electronics, jewelry and plating.

The plastics recovered get recycled into plastic components for new electronic devices or other plastic products, including as garden furniture, license plate frames, non-food containers and replacement automotive parts.

Rechargeable batteries can be recycled into other rechargeable battery products.

The U.S. wireless industry recognizes its role to help preserve the planet, which is why many members of CTIA – The Wireless Association have developed or supported numerous programs promoting the recycling of cellphones and other wireless devices.

Before you recycle your device, erase your personal information. Here are some tips from CTIA:

Preserve the contacts, photos, texts or other data you want to keep.   

Terminate your device\'s wireless service by contacting your provider.

Use device-specific instructions to clear the device\'s memory of stored information.

Remove the SIM card (found in some GSM or 4G devices). If you\'re unsure if your device has one, contact your provider for more information.

There are a variety of recycling options, from carrier- and manufacturer-sponsored initiatives to third party organizations, such as drop-off or mail back programs, websites and charity drives. If you\'re not sure where to recycle your wireless devices, all of CTIA\'s carrier members will accept any device or accessory at their stores, regardless of which carrier provided your service.

For a full listing of recycling programs, and to learn more about CTIA’s green initiatives, visit www.Gowirelessgogreen.org.


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