The Environmental Protection Agency has launched the National Cell Phone Recycling Week as part of the month-long Earth Day festivities. In 2007, the EPA estimates that only 10 percent of all unused cell phones were recycled, and if all 100 million unwanted phones were recycled now it would save enough energy to power 18,500 homes for one full year.
The week-long recycling event, running from April 6 through April 12, is the result of a collaboration between the EPA’s Plug-In to eCycling program and a number of phone manufacturers. Cell phones, as well as many other household electronics items, can contain lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and other materials. These metals, if dumped in a landfill, do not break down easily and can pollute soil and groundwater. The metals can often be reused if the phones are recycled properly.