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EPA Highlights Recycling Opportunities During National Cell Phone Recycling Week

Release Date: 04/01/2010
Contact Information: Latisha Petteway, petteway.latisha@epa.gov, 202-564-3191, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging citizens to recycle their cell phones during the second annual National Cell Phone Recycling Week, April 5 – 11, 2010. This joint effort with the EPA’s Plug-In To eCycling program and leading cell phone manufacturers, retailers, and wireless service providers will increase awareness about the importance of cell phone recycling to save energy and conserve natural resources.

“Every recycled cell phone makes a difference,” said Maria Vickers, acting director of EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. “The energy saved by recycling even one cell phone is enough to power a laptop for 44 hours.”

EPA and its Plug-In partners, including AT&T, Best Buy, LG Electronics, RecycleBank, Samsung Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, are sponsoring promotional activities across the country to highlight the many easy opportunities to turn in phones for reuse and recycling and provide a call to action. If Americans recycled the approximately 130 million cell phones that are disposed of annually, enough energy would be saved to power more than 24,000 homes in a year. Currently, only about 10 percent of cell phones are recycled.

Reusing or recycling cell phones helps the environment by saving energy and conserving resources. Cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are made of precious metals, copper, and plastics. Recycling or reusing these devices conserves materials, prevents air and water pollution, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions that occur during manufacturing and processing. For every 1 million cell phones recycled, we can recover 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium, and 35,274 pounds of copper.

Donating working cell phones or PDAs can also have social benefits for communities. Many existing recycling programs donate cell phones that are in good working order to charities or provide them to the public for discounted sale.

Plug-In To eCycling works with companies to offer consumers more opportunities to donate or recycle their used electronics. Since the program began in 2003, Plug-In To eCycling partners have recycled more than 360 million pounds of electronics, including televisions, computers and cell phones.

More information on cell phone collection centers near you: http://www.epa.gov/cellphones