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Consumers Urged to E-Cycle Unwanted Cell Phones

Release Date: 11/25/2003
Contact Information:

Dave Ryan 202-564-7827 /

(11/25/2003) - Consumer action to recycle and reuse millions of unwanted cell phones was highlighted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling on Nov. 24. The FCC rule allows consumers to switch carriers without changing their numbers. Cell phones are an increasing segment of the nation’s electronics waste stream, and present an environmental hazard because they contain lead and brominated flame retardants. EPA predicts that cell phones will be discarded at a rate of 130 million per year by 2005, resulting in 65,000 tons of waste. EPA’s “Plug-In To E-Cycling” has gained support for recycling among manufacturers and retailers. These efforts are significant because they embrace the shared responsibility concept – to make electronics recycling work, we need the cooperation of everyone in the environmental chain --- from the makers to the sellers to consumers. Launched in January 2002, the Plug-In To E-Cycling program now has 12 private sector partners, including Wal-Mart, Sony, Sharp, Staples, Panasonic, JVC, Dell, Best Buy, AT&T Wireless, Recycle America Alliance, Envirocycle and Nxtcycle, and close to 30 public partners. AT&T Wireless, Staples and Best Buy also collect used electronics and cell phones in drop-boxes in their stores. Some organizations already have recycling programs in place like Verizon’s Hopeline program, the Wireless Foundation’s Donate-a-Phone program, and Collective Good. For more information, go to: .