I love Android phones and tablets! They are objects of beauty and wonder. Extending communication and connectivity world-wide is good for democracy, good for the economy and good for the environment (by reducing unnecessary physical travel).
But, the manufacture of electronic devices uses energy and precious resources. It is a smart idea to recycle electronic devices, including cell phones. Currently only around 10% of cell phones are recycled every year.
It's easy to recycle, donate or sell-back a cell phone. Use either your service provider, a retailer, a charity, or a green recycling location. Here are links to help find an easy way to recycle:
Here is reproduction of an article by Paulie Anthony from with basic statistics on phone recycling:
With new wireless technologies being continuously introduced into the marketplace, we need to be conscious of the effects our used devices can have on the environment if they are not disposed of properly. There are currently more mobile devices than people in the world, and e-waste now makes up the majority of toxins in our landfills. The average person upgrades their cell phone every 18 months, which amounts to 130 million devices being discarded each year in the U.S. alone. Although more than 70 percent of mobile devices today can be reused, only 14-17 percent are recycled annually. Mobile devices contain several hazardous materials including mercury, arsenic, chemical flame retardants and lead. When these devices are not recycled responsibly, they have a disastrous effect on our environment.
Responsible reuse and recycling of end-of life mobile devices is beneficial to the health of our people and our planet. Cell phone recycling has more positive effects than most may realize: Recycling one Lithium-Ion battery prevents the contamination of up to 60,000 liters of water, which is equivalent to three Olympic swimming pools. Recycling 1 million cell phones reduces greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking 33 cars off the road for a year. Every 42 cell phones recycled saves enough energy to power an average household for a year.
The EPA estimates that 50 to 80 percent of electronics that are collected for recycling in the U.S. are exported to developing countries creating “toxic wastelands.” Often child labor and unethical and unhealthy practices are used to abstract the precious materials from the e-waste, polluting the environment and poisoning the locals. Due to this fact, businesses, government agencies and consumers should try to recycle their end-of-life mobile devices and accessories with e-Stewards certified recyclers exclusively. e-Stewards recyclers do not export devices to developing countries and are rigorously audited to ensure devices are reused and recycled in the most environmentally responsible way possible. To find a list of e-Stewards certified recyclers, visit .
Last edited by Matt Casey; 01-01-2014 at 01:14 PM.
Reason: Corrected spelling of Paulie Anthony
Another thing one can do is wipe the device completely and donate to a veterans or abused women's shelter.
That's exactly what we used to do when I had my store. (I hate men who abuse women - and if anyone is wondering, I'm a man.) There was very little data on phones back when we started, it was before the day of dumb phones, but I had donated some clothing and furniture to a few of the local women's shelters (there was a sort of network of 4 of them). When I started getting used, almost featureless phones, I asked one of the shelters if a phone only good to call 911 would be useful to a woman leaving a shelter. They almost mobbed me. That's where all the used Nokias went. Some cost me a replacement battery (I wouldn't give them one with a battery that was abused to death), but I felt better, knowing that, even if it didn't make the women any safer, it made them FEEL safer.
Check with any independent cellphone store owner and, if he isn't doing it already, give him the idea. (It's legal for him to deduct the fair market value [IOW, the fair resale price] of each phone as a charitable deduction if the shelter is a 501(c)(3) corp.) And who would even steal a cupcake or eclair phone that can't be updated? They go in the trash, or can make some poor, abused woman feel safer. (Please include the charger with the phone.)
Portions of this page are modifications based on work created and shared by the Android Open Source Project
and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution License. AndroidCentral is an independent site
that is not affiliated with or endorsed by Google.