Electronic waste is a growing problem in America. We tend to want the newest, most high-tech electronics as soon as they become available leaving us with a ton of usable electronics to be disposed of. My guest writer today gives us some ideas on how to green our cell phones and what to do with them when we replace them.
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A few months back, our two-year contract was finally up and it was time for new cell phones for the whole family. It’s always a special time, facing the onslaught of ads and salespeople pushing for this new gadget or the other, searching (in vain, it sometimes seems) for the right phones for us. This time around things were complicated further, as our oldest boy, who constantly reminds us that he is “very nearly eleven years old,” has made a very good case for getting his own phone. After all, he often goes out on his bike for several hours at a time, and his friends are practically camping out at the movie theatre or shopping center every weekend. So now we’re faced with finding three new phones, and disposing of two old ones. Cell phone trade in services and cell phone donation programs both had their appeal, as we wanted to keep our old phones out of the landfill. Our priorities for the whole ordeal were: don’t break the bank, and don’t poison the planet. Here’s how we did it.
We knew we wanted to find a green phone – one that is built to last, manufactured with recycled materials, and free of hazardous toxic materials. We also wanted something small, light, and cheap, with both long battery life and excellent sound quality. My husband has a BlackBerry that his work provides, and I am of the mind that a phone should be made for talking first, and everything else second. So, we didn’t need anything fancy, and we didn’t want anything expensive. We were thrilled when we found the Motorola Renew W233, from T-Mobile.
The Renew is a tiny, simple phone, crafted from recycled water bottle plastics. The phone’s casing is also 100 percent recyclable, which is extremely important, as cell phone recycling efforts can dramatically reduce the e-waste piling up in our landfills. The Motorola Renew is also the world’s first carbon-neutral phone. Motorola (through an alliance with www.carbonfund.org) actually offsets the amount of energy needed to “manufacture distribute, and operate” the Renew, according to the manufacturer’s website. The phone is even shipped in a small brown box made of recycled paper.
This phone is not big on features, but we only need the basics. The Renew offers excellent sound quality for calls, and a really impressive 9 hours of actual talk time between charges, so you’ll charge less frequently. This phone is also extremely cheap – we got all three of ours for under $30, with a new service plan.
Though we were happy with our new phones, we still needed to get rid of the old ones. For years now we had been collecting old phones in a junk drawer. Of course we couldn’t throw them away, but what could we do? Fortunately, a friend recently introduced me to a really cool cell phone recycling website: www.Flipswap.com. Flipswap provides a free an easy cell phone trade in service, that could even put a few bucks in your pocket. Here’s how it works.
Go to www.Flipswap.com, look up your phone by make and model, and find out if it has any second-hand market value. Then you just print out a pre-paid shipping label, and ship your phone in to Flipswap. If the phone has value, they’ll mail you a check. If not, they’ll recycle it for free, and plant a tree. How cool is that? The best part is, Flipswap gives old cell phones a second life, helping those who can’t afford to buy a cell phone. Getting new phones can be a scary business, but thanks to the Motorola Renew and www.Flipswap.com, we think we did pretty well.
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Jake Green is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more information about cell phone recycling visit www.Flipswap.com.
*This post is sponsored by Flipswap.com.