It's Cell Phone Recycling Time

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is launching National Cell Phone Recycling Week as part of its efforts to celebrate Earth Day the entire month of April. The week, which runs from April 6-12, is a joint effort between EPA’s Plug-In To eCycling program and leading cell phone manufacturers, retailers, and service providers to increase national awareness about the importance of cell phone recycling.

"With Earth Day approaching, people are thinking about what they can do to give back to our planet," said Matt Hale, director of EPA's Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. "Recycling your old cell phone is a great way to conserve resources and help make a greener world."

Plug-In partners across the country, including AT&T, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, are introducing a series of in-store promotions, contests, and giveaways. The partners will provide in-store and online recycling opportunities for consumers.

With only 10 percent of unwanted cell phones being recycled in 2007, EPA is encouraging consumers to increase the nation’s cell phone recycling rate. Recycling or reusing cell phones helps the environment by saving energy and keeping reusable materials out of landfills. Cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are made of precious metals, copper, and plastics. Recycling or reusing them not only conserves these materials, it also prevents air and water pollution and reduces greenhouse gas emissions that occur during manufacturing and when extracting and processing virgin materials. If Americans recycled the 100 million cell phones that are no longer being used, enough energy would be saved to power more than 18,500 homes for a year.

Donating cell phones or PDAs can also have social benefits for communities. In fact, many existing recycling programs donate cell phones that are in good working order to worthy charities, raise funds for charitable organizations, or provide them for discounted sale.

For information on cell phone recycling, visit www.epa.gov/cellphones.

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