Recycling Cell Phones

Sunday, June 10, 2012

With the fast pace of technology, cell phones become out-dated very quickly.  However, what do you do with an out-dated cell phone?  How many of us have cell phones that sit in drawers, never to be used again, and wait to be thrown out with the regular trash?

Cell phones are potentially dangerous to our environment.  Cell phones can leak toxic and poisonous chemicals (i.e. lead, mercury and arsenic) into landfills, which can seep into drinking (ground) water.  It is important to dispose of your cell phone carefully, to avoid this.  If you think of how many cell phones that you personally have discarded in the past ten years, and then multiply that by the millions of cell phones in Canada and you will then see how dangerous all these cell phones in land fills will be.  The numbers simply add up! 

There are many places that you can take your cell phone to recycle it.  Some may use the parts of the cell phone (such as the protective coverings, backing or faces), and others just destroy the phone in an environmentally friendly manner.    Canada does have a national recycling program for discarded cell phones called “recycle my cell”.  By accessing their website at,  you can find a drop off location near you where you can recycle your cell phone.   At the Calgary Zoo, there is a program to recycle your discarded cell phone, and for each phone recycled, a donation will be made to the Calgary Zoo’s Conservation Outreach fund (which helps conservation efforts).  The Calgary Zoo is involved in recycling cell phones as one of the elements needed for cell phones coatings is an ore called coltan which is found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa (a main habitat area of endangered gorillas and elephants).  By recycling cell phones, this coating may not need to be in such high demand, and conservation efforts can continue to protect this endangered habitat. 

Several other places will recycle your cell phone as well, including such stores as Bestbuy and Office Depot.  Looking online will help you decide where you might want to recycle your cell phone, and some places will even pay you to recycle your old phone!  While others will allow you to print a shipping label and send it to them for free!  Here is a great link to show you 50 ways to leave your cell phone.

When thinking of what to do with that old cell phone, remember the harmful effects that it will have on the environment.  Take a minute to find a place to recycle your cell phone and help protect the environment, as well as animal’s habitat.

Be a responsible cell phone user!