Cell Phone Recycling Fact Sheet
• According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, electronic waste (e-waste) is
accumulating almost three times faster than ordinary household trash.
o Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University estimate that at least 60 million PCs have
already been buried in U.S. landfills.
o An estimated 100 to 130 million cell phones are no longer being used, many languishing
o Recycling cell phones reduces greenhouse gas emissions, keeps valuable material out of
landfills and incinerators, and conserves natural resources.
• Cell phones and accessories are made from valuable resources such as precious metals,
copper, and plastics - all of which require energy to extract and manufacture.
o According to the EPA, if Americans recycled 100 million phones, we could save enough
upstream energy to power more than 194,000 U.S. households for a year.
If consumers were able to reuse those 100 million cell phones, the environmental savings
would be even greater, saving enough energy to power more than 370,000 U.S. homes
o Recycling just a million cell phones reduces greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking
1,368 cars off the road for a year.
o The EPA has targeted cell phone recycling because fewer than 20 percent of cell phones
are recycled each year and most people do not know where to recycle them.
In 2007, according to ABI Research, a N.Y.-based technology market research firm, 1.2
billion phones were sold worldwide. Sixty percent of them replaced existing phones. In the
United States, phones are cast aside after, on average, 12 months.
• Three things to remember before you recycle your wireless phone:
o Terminate your service
o Clear the phone’s memory of contacts and other stored information. Go to
www.recyclewirelessphones.com to learn how to do this;
o Remove your phone’s SIM card, if it has one. Phones that operate on GSM networks use
SIM cards. If you are not sure if your phone uses a SIM card o