moldybluecheesecurds 2

Monday, July 02, 2007

Half a million iPhones means a lot of garbage

What happens when a revolutionary new Apple phone hits the market? A lot of old cell phones hit the landfill. With as many as 500,000 iPhones moved in the first weekend, trash trucks will likely be loaded with several thousand old mobile phones.
"If everyone recycles their phones, close to 1.5 million pounds of cell phones won't wind up in the garbage can," [president and CEO of Materials Processing Corp] said. "It's the difference between everybody saying, 'Who cares?' and everyone saying, 'We can do our part.' It's all about education."

Already the average American has three to five of them lying around, which stacks up to a nationwide total of 750 million unused phones just lying dormant.

The disturbing aspect of the coming disposal onslaught is that - due to the presence of heavy and precious metals - old cell phones are both highly toxic and quite valuable.
Cell phones already are the largest and fastest growing segment of the e-waste world, and keeping them out of the waste stream is becoming more difficult. Consumers, on average, get new ones every 18 months, though many recyclers think the turnover is much faster.

If all the obsolete phones in storage were rounded up and recycled -- some 500 million of them -- the metals would amount to a treasure worth $340 million, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

So when you get your iPhone, take note of the recycling opportunities.
Most are separated into parts that get sold to companies that can reuse the pieces in some way. The cobalt in the batteries is recovered and turned into new batteries. The precious metals in the circuitry are stripped out and, in true cradle-to-grave-to-rebirth fashion, could wind up in your new computer's microprocessing chip
Both Best Buy and Staples provide cell phone recycling on-site, every day. If you'd like a karma boost, consider options like CollectiveGood, where revenue from recycling your phone benefits victims of domestic violence, or animals at the Humane Society. Pick your charity, and don't toss your phone.

No comments: