Print 12 comment(s) - last by Gooberslot.. on Jul 2 at 3:46 AM

What to do with that 1980's brick?
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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HUGE problem
By PedroDaGr8 on 6/29/2006 8:41:46 AM , Rating: 2
THis is a huge problem unfrotunately, as an environmental chemist I must say that a lot of research is done in how to try to clean up some of this, the magnitude of the problem is staggering. THough I did like this quote:
creating mass plumes of pollution that migrate towards populated areas
They don't migrate just towards populated areas, they migrate in the direction of water flow of underground systems, which can be to away or parallel to populated areas. The quote made me think of a heat seeking missile for some reason :)

RE: HUGE problem
By masher2 on 6/30/2006 12:06:25 PM , Rating: 2
> "the magnitude of the problem is staggering..."

Staggeringly overstated, certainly, especially when one considers all the elements in a cell phone were originally taken out of the ground anyway. Commonly cited as pollution from cell phones are antimony, lead, copper, zinc, nickel, and cadmium. If you live in a Rocky Mountain State, chances are you have more of these in your backyard than does every cellphone discarded in California over the course of a year.

RE: HUGE problem
By masher2 on 6/30/2006 12:25:38 PM , Rating: 2
> "while another 130 million are estimated to be thrown away in 2006..."

Nothing like a little number inflation to make the case too. Assuming 2006 shows normal growth over 2005, the actual figure should be more like 118-120M cell phones. Or a mass of approximately 15,200 metric tons.

which sounds like a lot...till you realize that's equivalent to a block of iron ore 15 meters on a side.

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