It’s almost finally here, National Cell Phone Recycling Week starts Monday. You’ve been waiting for it, haven’t you? What’s that, never heard of it?
I felt the same way. With relatively little digging, I discovered that it’s a brand new nationally designated week created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which informed the public about the special 2009 event on April 2.
Normally, I’m a big mocker of made-up holidays, but since this one deals with cell phones, it seemed like a good time to remind readers what to do with their old phones.
There are several alternatives to trashing a cell phone that can help the earth and, possibly, mankind. And because of the new NCPR week, most of the major cell phone companies are having their own events to make it more convenient to consumers who want to recycle.
All the major carriers — Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint — will accept old phones at the stores. Some will also accept them by mail. Specifically:
- AT&T – Offers a free shipping label at att.com/wireless to mail the phone to “Cell Phones for Soldiers,” a charity that recycles used cell phones and uses the proceeds to buy free phone cards for troops overseas.
- Best Buy – Donates dollars from recycled phone programs to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
- Office Depot – Also sells three sizes of boxes for e-waste.
- Sony Ericsson
- Sprint – Through Sprint Project Connect, money from recycling benefits Internet safety for kids. Or through its Sprint Buyback program, certain older phones can be exchanged for credit.
- T-Mobile - Offers prepaid envelope labels to mail in a phone. Donates proceeds to charities through its T-Mobile Huddle Up program.
- LG Electronics – Printable postage-paid label available here.
- Verizon Wireless – Offers free postage-paid label. Donates proceeds to help victims of domestic violence.
The EPA also offers 3 things to do before you give up your phone:
- Terminate service.
- Clear the phone’s memory by hitting the reset button or use a data erasing tool online, such as the free one at www.recellular.com/recycling/data_eraser.
- Don’t forget to remove the SIM card.
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