Welcome to Green Boot Camp

Welcome to Green Boot Camp blog, a 52-week program to help you become a greener you in 2008. This is the companion blog to The Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Week Three--Recycling cardboard, cartridges, cell phones and more

Once you've turned on your recycling radar, you quickly come to realize that there is more that you can recycle than just the old standbys--paper, plastic, metal and glass. That's why this week we're focusing on other items you should consider getting into the habit of recycling. These include cardboard, print cartridges, batteries and cell phones.

Since many people gave cell phones as gifts this past holiday season and many of us upgrade our phones every two years, I'm going to focus today's post on ways you should think about recycling your cell phone. Recycling them is critical considering that the Environmental Protection Agency classifies cell phones as toxic waste. Here are some options to consider:

* Drop old cell phones and rechargeable batteries in a collection box.
Look for one of the 50,000 Call2Recycle collection boxes in "big box" retailers nationwide. Visit the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Coalition website to find a drop-off location near you.

* Trade them in for a gift certificate.
An organization called "Recellulartradein" allows consumers to trade in their phones for gift cards to buy new electronics. Go to the organization's website to register your phone and figure out your best option. (According to Recellulartradin press materials, the majority of phones are worth between $5 and $20, though some newer phones could net you as much as $50.)

* Give your phones to a good cause.
Eco-cell, an environmentally focused cell phone recycling and green fund raising company, offers several phone recycling/green initiatives that help local zoos and wildlife parks. You can get more details on the Eco-cell website. Other organizations collect gently used cell phones to distribute to domestic violence shelters, soldiers abroad and other good causes.

* Donate your phone in exchange for carbon-offset credits
TerraPass wants to get cell phones out of landfills and into the hands of folks in developing nations who need them. At the same time, it wants to promote carbon-neutral initiatives. As such, if you donate your phone through the TerraPass/RIPMobile program, you'll get a TerraPass gift certificate to help you purchase carbon-offset credits or other green products.

*Bring your cell phone back to a cell phone store
As I'd written about in my "boxing day" post on my Lean Green Family blog, Verizon Wireless stores are collecting cell phones for recycling through its HopeLine program.

With these tips into mind, set up a bin, box or bag in an easy-to-find location (perhaps by the front door?) where you can toss your used electronics. This way when you're ready to donate or recycle them, they are all in one spot and you know exactly where they all are.


MisterH said...

Isn't there a ton of stuff we need to recycle! One more thing to consider is your car's motor oil. Sure is a good thing we don't have to take that to a depot, but we do pay to have it done. Unfortunately it's not talked about but using synthetic engine lubes and superior oil and air filters will let your car go for as long as a year or 40,000 km (that's 25,000 miles) whichever comes first. That's better than recycling because it saves on emissions and increases you gas mileage.

Leah Ingram said...

Thanks for bringing up motor oil. I hope you saw that I addressed it in a future post!