If you're in the market for a new cell phone, have you thought of what you'll do with your old one?
Cell phones are made with precious metals, copper and plastics, all of which can be recycled to make new products. In 2007, 14 million cell phones were recycled in the U.S., but even so, the EPA estimates just 10 percent of all cell phones are recycled.
Most cell phone providers have drop-off bins or mail-in programs to make recycling your old phone easy, but there are lots of ways you can recycle your phone and give to others. Many charities have partnered with cell phone refurbishers and recyclers as a way of generating funds while keeping phones out of landfills, so everybody wins.
Cell Phones for Soldiers provides talk time to overseas troops so they can call home. The organization collects old phones, which they send to ReCellular so the used phones can be sold or recycled. Each phone donated buys one hour of talk time for soldiers.
Two organizations -- the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Shelter Alliance -- collect cell phones to help fund their programs. NCADC works with ReCellular, while Shelter Alliance is a program run by Florida-based GRC Wireless Recycling. You can mail your phone, but check with your local women's shelter to see if you can drop off your cell there.
Flipswap refurbishes and recycles cell phones—and pays you for it or donates the value to your favorite charity. The company also has another program called inStore, which gives credits to people if they trade in their phone when they purchase a new one. And for each phone collected through the inStore service, Flipswap plants a tree.
American Cell Phone Drive helps you find local organizations that either refurbish or recycle cell phones to raise funds. Just head to AmericanCellPhoneDrive.org, type in your zip code, and you'll get a list of organizations and drop-off locations. And if there isn't a collection site in your area, you can print off a shipping label to send three or more phones directly to their headquarters.
HowStuffWorks looks at five still-popular tech myths, like charging your phone overnight is bad and the best camera has the most megapixels.
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