Recycle those stone age cell phones! Photo: Getty
You know you have them, tucked away at the back of desk drawers, in a box in the basement, or maybe even sitting on your bureau: old cell phones.
Next week, from April 5th through April 11th, you have a chance to do some spring cleaning and reclaim that precious storage space! Best of all, you can do it the eco-friendly way, by participating in the EPA's 's second annual Plug-In To eCycling National Cell Phone Recycling Week
All of these cell phone retailers and service providers have drop off locations set up as part of the program (and actually most are always available):
According to the Plug-In To eCycling National Cell Phone Recycling Week
site, "Recycling one million cell phones saves enough energy to power more than 185 US households with electricity for a year."
The site also says that there are nearly 58 million unused cell phones out there, just waiting to be properly disposed of!
Samsung Mobile is trying to reach the one million mark on their own, through an aptly named "March to a Million pledge
" targeting teens in middle and high schools. The eco-challenge even has a cool prize -- your school can win a concert from alt-rock band "Hey Monday" or one of fifty $1,000 "Green Grants" which are applied to making your school more environmentally friendly.
LG Mobile Phones also has a school-focused eco-challenge
. The LG ecoMobilization High School Cell Phone Recycling Contest launches this week, with 10 high schools racing to collect the most phones, and raise the most money. They get $2 for each phone, and the winning school gets a $10k bonus, which can be used however they want ... and they get a "Boys Like Girls" concert!
Sprint is supporting Plug-In To eCycling National Cell Phone Recycling Week with a video from Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, who proves he has a sense of humor and the company has a commitment to recycling. You can see the video starting Monday on the Sprint YouTube channel
If you like your recycling with a side of patriotism, check out AT&T's Cell Phones for Soldiers
. It uses funds from recycled cell phones to buy prepaid phone cards for active duty military members to help connect them with their families. They've already raised over a million dollars -- imagine how many more soldiers overseas could make a call home if this big recycling push is a success!
There are even more programs, but the most important thing is that you do your seemingly small part: dig out that giant joke of a cell phone from 2002, and take it to a recycling center near you. Do it for the earth, the teenagers in your neighborhood, the troops, and for the storage space. Your cleaning lady will thank you!