New York City was one of the first to implement mandatory cell phone recycling programs throughout the city. Since 2007, retailers have had to take back old cell phones that consumers are not going to use anymore, with the option of reusing the phones or recycling them. The change was mandatory so that the old cell phones would not end up in landfills.
In April 2011, New York State law started to require all manufacturers to take back the old electronics not being used any more so that there would be a more responsible disposal process.
These laws in New York have not reached every state, but it may be coming to at least half of the 50 states. The University of Louisville and University of Utah examined cell phone recycling as it stands in many states right now. They wanted to find out how many were actually recycling the old cell phones and how many would find it easier with better programs.
It is hoped that the study will be enlightening to those who use more electronics. College and University students certainly have more electronics than their parents and older generations. This is why the study focused primarily on campuses. New York also wanted to do its part in getting a recycle program started. This has allowed many companies to form, which are not a part of the retailers. These companies pay for cell phone recycling so that there is an enticement for better recycling of the phones.