May 29 â€" Recycle Your Cell Phone and Save a Gorilla in the Congo

Cell phones have penetrated our society the way VCRs penetrated family homes in 80's. Everyone has one, and most people like to upgrade for the newest model as soon as it’s on the market, which is becoming increasingly more frequent. The problem is it's illegal to toss any cell phone in the trash under CA's Universal Waste Rule, yet less than 1% of cell phone users recycle or donate their used phones. Similar cell phone trash bans are making their way into other state policies, so cell phone recycling could be on the upswing. Noreen O'Donnell reports in The Journal News about how safe cell phone disposal is catching on and how donating and recycling is helping more than you think.

It's the evolution of cell phones. I kept mine because I didn't know what to do with them. I still don't know what I'm going to do, but Westchester County is about to make it illegal to throw them in the trash. As of Thursday, you'll risk first a warning, then fines of up to $250.

California put a similar ban into effect in February. New York City follows next year, though the city's law doesn't stop with fines. It threatens jail time for repeat offenders.

The goal is to safeguard the toxic materials found in the phones and their batteries. Arsenic, for example, and antimony, beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel and zinc. If the phones end up in landfills, the chemicals and metals can leach into the soil or the groundwater. If they're incinerated, they can form other toxic materials.

Lots of people are too environmentally aware to even think of throwing away their cell phones. They already recycle them or donate them to domestic-violence shelters or other worthwhile causes.

Read the Complete Article here to understand the interesting Congo connection...

California expired an exemption for residents to throw away their universal wastes in the trash just this last February. The new ban infiltrated local media and caught the attention of local government leaders and a percentage of Californians that paid attention to the new rule. But the problem of properly disposing all of our universal wastes ('universal' because we all use them everyday) is just starting to be addressed. Californians Against Waste is sponsoring AB 3001 (Pavley), which expand the scope of SB 20, the E-Waste Recycling Act, the include all single-use PCs. By extending the state's e-waste recycling program to personal computers, California can ultimately recycle more than 110,000 tons of the e-waste stream annually.

What you can do:
· Send an email to you Legislator asking for his/her support in this measure
· Send an AB 3001 support letter from your organization