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  • Writer's pictureMackenzie Mosieur

Going Green? Why E-Waste Should Be Part Of Your Plan

You might think your business is environmentally savvy, but did you know there’s more to going green than saving water and switching to energy efficient light bulbs? Recycling electronic waste through a charitable organization like the 911 Cell Phone Bank can lighten the burden of the local landfill, conserve a vast amount of energy, and improve our quality of life.

E-waste, also known as electronic waste, comes in many forms, from old and unused computers, to the unclaimed cellphones in your lost and found department. More than likely, there is e-waste collecting dust at your place of business. Numbers from assert that Americans generate more than 11.7 million tons of e-waste annually. This breaks down to 416,000 mobile devices and 142,000 computers every single day, according to numbers from the EPA. What does that mean in terms of energy conservation? Look at it this way: 1 pound of paper recycling saves 2.691 kWh of electricity V.S. recycling only 1 pound of cell phones saves 9.95 kWh of electricity (5 cell phones is approximately one pound). If Americans recycled all the 130 million cell phones that are tossed aside annually in the United States, we could save enough energy to power more than 24,000 homes for a year. How so? According to Dr. Frederic Beaudry, recycling one million cell phones saves enough energy to provide electricity to 185 U.S. households for a year. In other words, recycling 5,405 cell phones can save enough energy to power the average American home for a year, while recycling one ton of paper saves enough energy to power the same home for only six months.

The energy saved by recycled e-waste is only part of the environmental benefits. Cell phones and other electronic devices also contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and brominated flame retardants. Many of those materials can be recycled and reused; none of them should go into landfills where they can contaminate air, soil, and groundwater. Even though this electronic waste represents only 2 percent of waste stream discarded in American landfills, it equals around 70 percent of toxic waste. Only about 15-20% of the electronic waste is recycled worldwide and 40% of Americans don't know how to recycle it properly.

Organizations like the 911 Cell Phone Bank make it easy to recycle old or unclaimed cell phones. By simply sending the devices to the organization, you’re doing your part to recycle and save lives. The 911 Cell Phone Bank takes the unwanted devices, clears the data and then donates the devices to be used as lifelines for domestic violence victims and other survivors of abuse or violence. Reusing cell phones ensures that the greatest possible value is recovered, prevents the devices from ending up in a landfill, and quite literally gives old phones new life.

To learn more, checkout this interview with our Executive Director James Mosieur:

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