Ethics of Cell Phone Recycling

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With Earth Day having thrown the spotlight on being ‘green’, more and more people are getting into the recycling of electronic waste, including old cell phones.  Raised awareness about the fact that harmful chemicals can leak from used cell phones and other electrical devices and end up contaminating the environment – and ultimately harming our own health – has been recognized as the reason why more and more people are taking note of the need to recycle.

The problem, however, is that not all recycling is created equal.  Many drop boxes in the United States are marked as being recycling stations suitable for dropping off old cell phones and other electrical devices, but may not be all that they are alleged to be.  Many companies operating these drop boxes are not real recyclers and simply sell off these old cell phones to foreign countries, whose recycling practices can be dubious to say the least.  Once overseas, these used cellular phones are stripped of their precious metals – often by children in decidedly unsafe working conditions – with the remainder then simply dumped.  Thus rather than saving the planet, those using these unethical recycling boxes are merely sending the environmental contamination overseas instead.

Fortunately, the best thing you can do is to hand your old cellular phone in to a responsible recycling company like SellCell.