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California begins nation’s first state wide mandatory cell phone recycling program

A new law in California that takes effect July 1st will require cell phone retailers in California will be required to establish a collection and recycling program for mobile phones. It also restricts California residents from simply throwing old cell phones in the trash. The new law AB2901 was established to help cut down on the hazardous waste contained in cell phones from entering Californian landfills.

Currently cell phones contain some amounts of hazardous materials and heavy metals that when released negatively impact the environment. While one or two phones aren’t likely to make a difference the sheer number of phones currently sitting idle in America that are waiting to or already have been disposed of poses a large problem for waste managers.

According to statistics quoted in the press release over 500 million used cell phones have currently or are waiting to be disposed of while another 130 million are estimated to be thrown away in 2006. When these phones components are disposed of over time they begin to leech in to surrounding soil and groundwater creating mass plumes of pollution that migrate towards populated areas potentially affecting the health of those citizens.

Earlier today, Dell announced that the company would institute a global policy to offer free recycling of any Dell-brand PC, or any PC that would be upgraded to a Dell. The European Union also recently mandated cell phone battery recycling, initiated in the same spirit as the California bill for cell phones.




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