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Why It's So Important to Recycle Your Cell Phone

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Gorilla Little do most people know, there's a connection between cell phone popularity and the gorillas of the African Congo. Even though throwing away cell phones is a prime example of e-waste, one of the most hazardous types of pollution, and represents a generation of consumerism, there's even more to the problem. Part of cell phones' batteries are made with coltan, a substance extracted from deep in the forests of the Congo. Due to a boom in cell phone production, the coltan-mining business is getting out of control, destroying wildlife habitats, and increasing the illegal slaughter of gorillas for bushmeat. Simply selling, giving away, or recycling your cell phone helps reduce the need for more coltan mining.
Still buying those sales pitches for a new phone every time a fancier one comes out? Keep in mind that there may already be 500 million unused cell phones in the United States, with as many as 100 million added each year. The cell-phone boom in the last decade induced a flood of more than 10,000 illegal miners into protected parks in central Africa, and there has been a recent 70% decline in the Eastern Lowland Gorilla population.
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EW&P - Thank you for spreading the word. Cell phone recycling rates in the U.S. really need a boost. According to EPA estimates, only 10% of cell phones were being recycled in 2007. One of the primary reasons for such low participation is lack of awareness. The majority of Americans are unaware that their cell phones can be effectivley reused and recycled. Articles like this shine a sorely needed light on the issue. Another tool that I encourage readers to consider is a short video that Sprint recently produced with Outpost Worldwide. It can be viewed online. In under two minutes it frames the issue, illustrates how phones can reused and recycled, and shows how easy it is to take action. It can be found at http://www.sprint.com/recycle. Forwarding a link of this video to friends and family would be a great way to help raise awareness. Keep up the good work!

Darren Beck
Sprint Corp Social Responsibility
Twitter @DarrenBeck

Thanks, Darren. That link was a 404, would you mind re-sending it?

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