Cell phone recycling positively impacts the environment. According to About News & Issues, cell phones contain precious metals that should be conserved. Since these materials can be reused, it doesnât make environmental sense to allow them to go into landfills or sit in a junk drawer.Â Recently, Earth911 conducted a survey of its readersÂ regarding cell phone recycling and donating soliciting a response to the following questionÂ âÂ why don’t you recycle your cell phone?
Respondents were also asked about cell phone donation habits as well. Â While many consumers do one or the other, there are still those who have understandable concerns which cause them to hold onto their old devices. Â The results, ranked in order from greatest to least, are as follows:
- Not sure where to take it â 33%
- Security concerns â 26%
- I do recycle or donate my old cell phones â 18%
- I give it to another family member/friend to use â 12%
- Phone is too outdated for donation â 8%
- Concerned about it going to foreign countries for recycling â 3%
Cell phone resale companyÂ GoodCellasÂ is familiar with the above common list of concerns. and has addressed each of them below.
Why you should recycle your cell phone
Not sure where to take it
Not sure where to take it ranks in the number one spot for concerns. Â This concern can be easily addressed through consumer education. There are plenty of resources available. Whether its going to your local library to see if they have a used cell phone bin for those in need, researching cell phone resale companies that match your needs, going through a nonprofit organization, upcycling it to be something new, or utilizing a tool such as Earth911âs Recycle Search, there are various options out there.
The second most response âÂ security concernsÂ â can also be easily addressed through consumer education. Cell phones (as well as tablets, iPads, etc.) can hold a great deal of personal and sensitive information including phone numbers, addresses, emails and passwords.
Consumers want to trust that their recycled or donated cell phone doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. While some companies use third parties to erase stored data,Â the Federal Trade CommissionÂ has thisÂ guideline for removing personal information. This includes:
- Using the factory reset
- Removing or erasing SIM and SD cards
- Removing stored apps
Recycle your cell phone
18% of survey respondents do in fact recycle or donate old cell phones. This doesnât necessarily mean that they too donât have similar concerns. However, their concerns were either not there in the first place or have either been addressed.
Friends and family
Giving it to a family member or friend to use is a beneficial choice, especially if the person is in need of a cell phone. While there are less security concerns with family and friends (i.e. your trusted network), its still a smart idea to clear your personal information just in case they decide to recycle it further when theyâre done using it.
For those who feel their phone is too outdated for donation, its alwaysÂ worth trying. Most cell phone resale companies offer a fair evaluationÂ before you agree to sell it. This may change upon delivery if the description or photo doesnât match.Â Â Check with the resale company to see if restrictions existÂ â i.e. specific brands, model years, etc.
If your device is not a good fit for resale, reach out to other organizations or consider theÂ Earth911 recycling options mentioned previously.
Another common concern users have is that the cell phone isÂ going to end up being shipped overseas â possibly becoming e-waste.Â While exporting electronics is still an issue today, studies are still being done. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting,
âTracking is really the first step in order to design a better system,â Ratti said. âOne of the surprising things we discovered is how far waste travels. You see this kind of global e-waste flow that actually almost covered the whole planet.â
Check with your recycling company to see if they are a certified electronics recycler. Â Â The Responsible Recycling (“R2”) Standard for Electronics Recyclers and the e-StewardsÂ®Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic EquipmentÂ©(“e-StewardsÂ®”) are currently the two accredited certification standards.Â The EPA has information on specifically what to look for in this regard.
While addressing these understandable concerns doesnât make them disappear, familiarizing yourself with the benefits of and different recycling options your outlook on the process may change.
Feature image credit: Champion studio / ShutterstockÂ