Let’s talk trash for a minute.
Specifically, let’s talk about what happens when you have mobile-electronic waste—old cell phones, smartphones, tablets, mp3 players, etc.—piling up in your junk drawer or attic. When you don’t use it anymore, or if it’s broken, it’s tempting to want to throw it right in the trash.
But how you get rid of electronic waste matters, even if it’s as small as an iPod Nano (remember those?!).
Electronic waste can be extremely harmful to the environment if it ends up in a landfill. Anyone who’s had a mobile phone for longer than a few years knows they’re not built to last a lifetime, yet our devices are made with products that are anything but disposable. Our old devices may include things like cadmium, mercury, and lead as well as lithium batteries and rare-earth minerals, plus, they’re cased in plastic—all things that can cause damage to water supplies and ecosystems.
Recycling your mobile e-waste with an organization like Cell Phones For Soldiers can keep those harmful materials out of the environment and benefit our troops and soldiers at the same time. Our recycling partner recycles each device securely, identifying which components may be resold for reuse (which helps cut the demand for mining in vulnerable places), and providing revenue for us to help service members communicate with home or support veterans in need. To date, we’ve stopped more than 20 million devices from entering landfills!
The World Economic Forum has released dire statistics on the rising problem of e-waste around the world. The United States has managed to reduce its waste of electronics, but there’s still a lot of work to do; only about 35 percent of e-waste is recycled. Around the world, the amount of e-waste has become a crisis. “Consumers can’t resist faster products with more storage and better cameras, but constant upgrades have created a growing global waste challenge. In 2019 alone, people discarded 53 million metric tons of electronic waste.”
The next time you upgrade your devices, make sure to donate your old ones to Cell Phones For Soldiers, where your (electronic) trash can have new life benefiting our nation’s heroes.