More and more communities in the United States are getting involved in the recycling of old cell phones and other electronic goods as concern over the amount of electrical waste generated each year continues to mount.
“We have so many electronic products that we use,” says National Solid Wastes Management state programs director Chris Miller. “They are being far more widely distributed throughout the population of the country and they tend to have relatively short life spans. Cell phones that last two or three years, computers that last maybe two or three years before they get replaced.”
With more than four hundred million items that fall under the category of electronic waste, including used cell phones, being dumped every year, more and more US states are banning the material from being shipped to landfills and getting into the business of recycling. In Baltimore, for instance, a recycling plant instantly rips apart old electronics and strips them for reusable parts. “There are a lot of valuable minerals that can be recovered and reused as opposed to just putting them in the landfill, and in certain components there are some materials that should not really be dumped in the landfill,” says plant manager Mike Fannon. The good news, according to Fannon, is that the level of recycling in the US has gone up from just six per cent thirteen years ago to twenty per cent – but quite clearly, that also suggests there is still some way to go.