Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – This Environmental Slogan Applies to Cell Phones and Batteries, Too

Most people have heard the environmental slogan “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” that encourages people to be attentive about what is often just casually thrown into landfills. What some people still don’t realize, however, is that cell phones and cell phone batteries fall into this category.

It is important to recycle cell phones and Cell Phone Batteries for several reasons. One of the most important is that cell phones and their batteries contain PBTs. PBTs are “persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals. When cell phones or batteries make their way into landfills, they release toxic materials into soil and water that harmful to humans and animals. Some of these chemicals include lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants. Such chemicals can cause developmental difficulties and can harm the nervous and reproductive systems. They are also known carcinogens. It is therefore important to keep cell phones and batteries out of landfills since they present such a danger.

Not only does the disposal of batteries and cell phones pose a threat to the eco-system, but it also wastes valuable resources. Recycling phones and batteries reduces the amount of new materials that have to be mined from the earth. It also saves energy. By recycling just one cell phone, enough energy is saved to power a laptop computer for approximately 44 hours. What’s more, throwing batteries and cell phones away results in a waste of precious metals. Consequently, new virgin metals have to be mined to produce new phones, batteries and other products, resulting in more damage to the environment, as well as increased prices for these products in the future. For example, for every one-million cell phones that reach landfills, 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, and 33 pounds of palladium are lost. Cell phones and batteries also contain significant amounts of tin, zinc, and platinum. Perhaps the most astounding statistic in this regard is the fact that those same cell phones contain more than 35,000 pounds of copper. Copper has become one of the most valuable metals on the market, with thieves breaking into abandoned houses with no other purpose than to strip electrical equipment, air conditioners, and heaters of copper wiring in order to sell it on the black market. Insurance companies are requiring businesses and organizations to secure their air conditioning units to protect the copper elements inside. And yet, thousands of pounds of copper wind up in landfills as the result of disposal of cell phones and cell phone batteries.

This is why it is so important for us to reuse, reduce, and recycle cell phones, cell phone batteries, and all of our used electronic equipment.

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