Your brother got you that new smartphone you’ve had your eye on for Christmas. It has all the latest apps and you’re delighted with it. But there’s one tiny problem: What do you do with your old phone?
Many people will face this dilemma. According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), 47% of holiday shoppers bought electronic items as gifts on Black Friday. 26% of those bought a smartphone and 22% bought a computer tablet. Other popular items included headphones, portable media players, and video game consoles. Many of these will doubtless replace older models. Roughly 80 to 85% of discarded electronics end up in landfills or incinerators. Electronic scrap can contain hazardous materials like lead, cadmium, or beryllium.
Call2recycle , which is the only free rechargeable battery and cellphone collection program in North America, can help people locate places to recycle batteries and cellphones. Since 1996, Call2recycle has established a network of 30,000 public collection sites. In the process, the organization has diverted over 70 million pounds of rechargeable batteries out of the solid waste stream, thus keeping them out of landfills. The collection sites then transport the batteries and cellphones to contracted sorting and recycling facilities. Precious metals recovered from the batteries are used to make new batteries or stainless steel goods. The cellphones are recycled, refurbished, and/or resold.
Call2recycle’s website includes a database listing all of the locations collecting batteries and/or cellphones. Typing in the ZIP code and pressing “FIND” generates a list of collection sites with the closest one listed first. The website also includes advice for people just starting to recycle. Call2recycle’s tips include: 1) Set up a bin or bag for family members to put recyclables; 2) Regularly clean out your junk drawer; and 3) Replace batteries in bulk, so you will always have some handy, which can help cut down on the number of trips to the store. For more information, visit www.Call2recycle.org or call 1 (877) 723-1297.
Best Buy will recycle almost any electronic device, regardless of its origins. In other words, Best Buy will accept items bought from other stores. Their stores provide kiosks for small items like batteries, ink and toner cartridges, and cables. They also provide a haul-away service for larger items like T.V. sets. For more information, visit www.bestbuy.com or call 1 (800) 237-8289.
Home Depot, Lowe’s, Radio Shack, and Staples are other stores that collect electronic goods for recycling. Staples also collects ink cartridges and toner.
1-800-recycling.com is a database that enables people to find recycling locations throughout the U.S. It can be searched by ZIP code or city. It lists places that recycle electronics, paper, plastics, glass, and almost anything else imaginable.