Cell phone users now have a way to recycle their old phones and support the Sierra Club in the process. About a million mobile phones are tossed out each week in the U.S. as consumers upgrade or switch to different phone service providers, and those old phones leak a bunch of toxic substances, including mercury, lead, and arsenic, into the environment. CollectiveGood, a recycling group, has teamed up with Staples, the office-supply chain, to set up bins in all Staples stores in the U.S., where people can drop off cell phones, pagers, and personal digital assistants (PalmPilots and the like) for reuse or recycling. About half of the phones are expected to be in good enough shape that they can be refurbished and put back into circulation; many will end up being sold at discounted prices in Latin America. If phones can’t be put to good use, CollectiveGood will recycle them and properly dispose of toxic elements. The Sierra Club will get a portion of proceeds from sales of refurbished phones.
Get Grist in your inbox