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EPA Forges Partnership With Cellphone Companies to Promote eCycling

EPA Forges Partnership With Cellphone Companies to Promote eCycling

“Cellphones are just the tip of the electronic waste iceberg now, but they could become a massive environmental problem.”
-Beth Trask, manager for corporate partnerships at Environmental Defense

January 9, 2008 —

With Americans discarding around 150 million cellphones every year, the issue of cellphone obsolescence has weighed on the minds of environmentalists for years. Phones are made from a variety of materials, including metals and toxic chemicals like polyvinyl chloride, all of which come with an environmental impact when they're harvested and disposed of. And while approximately 20 percent of the phones that fall into disuse in the United States are already reused or recycled, the E.P.A. would like to see that number get higher.

Projects like The Sprint Buyback Program — which credits customers up to $50 on their bills when they recycle their old phones — are a good example of what the E.P.A. would like to see across the industry, and it looks as though they may get their wish. Eleven leading cellphone and electronics companies have agreed to partner with the E.P.A. to collect and recycle phones and to help raise awareness.

Still, the best way to combat cellphone obsolescence — or electronic waste in general — is to try and get more out of what you already have. Nobody really needs a new cellphone every six months.

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