Recycle Your Cell Phone

I was cleaning out the kitchen today to find a pretty large pile of old cellphones kind of sitting in the corner. I’m not sure where they came from but I also know that there’s only one person in the house with a cellphone, and it’s been the same one for quite some time. I asked around and found out that they’re old ones that haven’t been active since plans were upgraded/downgraded in the past. I know for sure that I have two (possibly three) sitting in a box in the closet and then I thought about a site I came across named and thought: Why should I recycle my cell phone? It’s an honest question, of course I wanted answers.

You upgrade from one cellular service to another and your carrier says “Sorry, your old cell phone won’t work with your new plan – you need a new phone!” This happens to over 5 million people a month, which is why it’s not surprising that over 100 million unused cellphones are floating around the USA. You can’t bring yourself to get rid of your old phone. It could be in mint condition and possibly worth something, and of course you’d hate to throw anything away.

So this site,, enables US residents to recycle their old cellphone. Over 600 models qualify for a rebate between $4 and $300, even more in some cases. Each year over 140 million phones are retired and less than 5% of them are recycled. Research shows that these phones leach hazardous levels of lead when disposed in landfill conditions. As someone who likes the idea of my environment being around for a while, hazard free, it makes me wonder why more people aren’t considering the ability to recycle phones.

So I read through the site to find out some more information on how you can recycle your cell phone. In a recent survey, only 2.3% of Americans recycled their old cell phones and 7% threw them in the garbage. I also found out that I could send my phone right back to the manufacturer, and considering how old a few of them are I don’t even care about getting any money from it. Cell phone manufacturers and service providers have voluntarily implemented recycling programs and recognize that retail ‘take-back’ of old phones represents the lowest cost and most convenient recycling model. I then found out that surveys suggested that 90% of Americans would actually recycle their cell phone if there was a convenient drop-off location at a store near them. These programs, unfortunately, aren’t well advertised and only a fraction of retail cell phone outlets are currently providing their customers with recycling options.


A thirty-something code ninja + web diva. Former New Yorker who's passionate about web development, HTML/CSS, beautifying things and marketing.

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