Somewhere between twenty and fifty million tons of electronic waste, including old cell phones, is generated worldwide each and every year, according to Greenpeace International, with more than four and a half million landing up in landfills in the United States alone, which makes the moves toward finding ways toward the recycling of used cell phones and other electrical equipment so important, particularly when the improper disposal of these items can lead to dangerous toxins such as cadmium, lead and mercury polluting both the air and the soil of the world around us.
Florida A&M University is working to try and cut down that amount, via the FAMU Environmental Health & Safety department, which tries to ensure the correct disposal of all old cell phones and other forms of electrical equipment used on campus. “The university currently has an arrangement with Goodwill Industries to accept and process for recycling a wide range of electronic waste generated on campus,” says FAMU’s hazardous materials manager and senior environmental specialist, Ryan Mitchell. “We try to avoid sending any e-waste to the landfill.”
“We get a continuous stream of undesired electronics from FAMU,” concurs Brooke Lochure, the vice president of public relations for the Big Bend area for Goodwill. “FAMU has just been a brilliant partner. FAMU was our second, and they are an absolute pleasure to work with, and they just call us when they have undesired electronics.” Goodwill also currently recycles electrical equipment sent from Gulf Coast Community College, TCC, Leon County Schools and buildings and residents of Tallahassee.