Can we assume, that included inside of each of those 1.211 Billion new cell phone boxes, is a recycling baggie just like the ones pictured above?
Warning – Math Problem Ahead – 1,000,000,000 is a Big Number
Now, consider that the percentage of cell phones being recycled today, fall somewhere between 1% and 10%.
If we generously assume that all 10% of cell phones recycled are done so through the baggie program, then we are left with well over 1 Billion plastic baggies that will probably end up discarded in our landfills or our waterways and oceans.
This well-intentioned baggie recycling program is a complete environmental failure. Creating more waste, in the name of environmental good, is a shame.
Cells for Cells is Part of The Solution
When we first launched Cells for Cells in 2007, we provided a simple cardboard collection box to all of the companies that wanted to recycle with us. We distributed hundreds of boxes throughout Kansas City and received back very few. Even though cardboard is easily recycled, we realized that we were creating a lot of cardboard waste. So, we changed our process, and now Cells for Cells encourages everyone to re-use a cardboard box when you ship your devices to be recycled. The cardboard, in turn, will be re-used or recycled.
Cells for Cells partner, Freightquote.com took a standard office paper ream box and created this work of art:
Yes, You Can Recycle Plastic Bags or Baggies
Although most curbside recycling programs do not allow for any sort of plastic bag recycling, there are solutions. I have seen plastic bag recycling containers in some of our local grocery stores. I think that Wal-mart might have plastic bag receptacles, too.
Here is plasticbagrecycling.org. They have a state-by-state locator to help you find out where you can recycle your plastic bags.
Yes, You Can Recycle More Than Just One Cell Phone
I have an opinion that the baggie program teaches the public to only recycle one or two devices at a time.
Why not try to fill a box with old cell phones from family, friends, neighbors and co-workers? No matter what program or charity your cell phone recycling program supports, you still have the option to do more than just recycle. Become an advocate. Make it your mission to have your entire office recycle 2 or 4 or 10 devices per person. Re-use a cardboard box and make a difference in the environment and in the program you support.