Cellphone Recycling: Getting the Most Out of Smartphones
What happens to your old phone when you buy a new one? As smartphone features and technology advance, consumers are quickly switching to newer, better, faster phones. Old cellphones are now one of the fastest-growing types of garbage in the United States.
Worldwide smartphone sales are on track to top 467 million units this year alone, according to research firm Gartner. Two years ago, smartphone sales rang in at 172 million units.
This year, more than 140 million cell phones (that’s four cellphones per second) will end up in landfills, releasing 40 tons of lead into the earth because of improper disposal methods.
Nearly 80 percent of the materials in a typical cellphone can be recycled, according to the GSM Association, a worldwide mobile communications industry organization. In spite of this clear bonanza, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 10 percent of all unused cellphones were recycled in 2007. For some creative companies, however, recycling and repurposing phones provides a great economic — and environmental — incentive.