Fact or Fiction: All Cell Phone Recycling is the Same

Do you remember your first cell phone? Whether it was a Motorola Dynatac 8000x, a flip-phone, Android or BlackBerry, chances are you have collected a few wireless devices over the years.  

With the significant advances in wireless technology and capabilities over the years, many of us retired those earlier devices for newer models—usually stuffing the older devices in a drawer or throwing them away.

There is an alternative to mothballing or tossing your old wireless device, however. Not only can cell phone recycling help you clear clutter from your home, but it can also help reduce waste. According to the EPA, Americans discard 125 million phones each year, creating 65,000 tons of waste and making old cell phones the fastest growing type of manufactured garbage in the United States. That’s a lot of trash!

Unfortunately, according to About.com, only about 10 percent of the cell phones used in the United States are recycled. Yet, the benefits to recycling are significant.

As we think about reducing waste, conserving energy and protecting the environment, most would agree recycling is certainly the way to go for our no-longer-used devices. But how do you choose the best recycling option? Aren’t all cell phone recycling programs the same? 

There are a variety of recycling options available to wireless consumers. While most are reputable and do their part to help keep old cell phones out of landfills, some also offer potential trade-in compensation and/or support for charitable causes.

So, not all cell phone recycling is the same. But how do you decide which recycling program is best for you?

Ask your friends, family and co-workers for recommendations. And check with your carrier to learn about their recycling programs. Verizon Wireless, for example, offers the convenient **Value Mobile Device Recycling service which allows you to get a quote on the trade-in value of your smartphone—right from your device. The company also accepts trade-ins on cell phones (basic or smart), tablets and other wireless devices—from any carrier—through the Verizon Wireless Device Recycling Program, making a contribution to its HopeLine® program, which provides support to domestic violence victims and survivors for every device, working or not, that is recycled.

Additionally, the HopeLine® program accepts non-working devices. So you can still donate your wireless phone even if it is broken. If it is not salvageable, the parts will be recycled and used to generate funds for non-profit domestic violence advocacy and prevention agencies.

No, all cell phone recycling is not the same. But by choosing wisely, you can help the environment, possibly receive a trade-in incentive and even donate to a worthy cause.

Laura Merritt is a public relations manager with Verizon Wireless. Follow her on Twitter at: @VZWlaura.