The latest edition of Public Radio International (The World) has an interesting segment on some fascinating eco-friendly cell phone models being presented at ‘Dead Ringers’, an exhibit ay London’s Science Museum.
Currently in the UK, less than 15% of all cell phones are being recycled (compared to 1% recycling rate here in the U.S.). Every time a consumer throws away a cell phone, he/she needs to buy a new model. In the UK, 15 million phones are being upgraded every year, and most of the waste-phones are being exported.
So at the Science Museum in London, designers are showing off their more ‘environmental’ versions of modern cell phones. One design includes a biodegradable cell phone cover made with sunflower seeds. When the user wishes to dispose or upgrade the phone, they simply take off the cover, bury it, and sunflowers will grow, meanwhile turning in the inside of the phone containing the hazardous constituents to be recycled. Another cell phone design is made out of soy beans and chicken feathers—all renewable materials.
In 2004, California passed the CAW sponsored Cell Phone Recycling Act (Pavley), which requires all cell phone retailers to have a take back program in place at no cost to consumer dropping off their used cell phones for recycling. This law goes into effect July 1, 2006—and we are confident our cell phone recovery rates will soar much higher than 15%.