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Get cash, save the earth: Don’t toss your old cellphone

Reduce. Recycle. Reuse. That goes for your cellphone too.

Not only can you prevent toxic metals from entering groundwater and protect expensive, rare earth metals, you can now get cash when you recycle your cellphone, reported GOOD. You’ll be surprised by the amount of mula even a “piece of junk” can net. Some phones can command a few hundred dollars, while older versions may bring in around $20. But whatever model you have, someone, somewhere is interested in your secondhand mobile device.

E-waste is a growing problem. Old mechanical junk is nearing 5 percent of Americans’ total trash output, making up one of our biggest – and nastiest – exports. However, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates only 17.7 percent of the U.S.’s 3.19 million tons of e-waste was recycled in 2009. The average cellphone user currently swaps an old phone for a new one every two years. And far too many of those old models end up in the trash, even though phones are some of the easiest electronics to put back in circulation.

"We want to change that by making cell phone recycling as quick and easy as possible," Jeremy Cohen, founder of ExchangeMyPhone, said to GOOD, a website that promotes living well and charitable work. "You can go on our site, get an instant price quote, request a postage-paid envelope, and drop it in any U.S. postbox on your way to work." And yes, they will take your broken phone.

"Our aim at ExchangeMyPhone is to extend the lifecycle of phones, keep phones out of toxic landfills and re-circulate the precious metals that are hidden in our cell phones,” Cohen said.

And this company is not the only one out there retooling mobile phones -- CellforCash and PaceButler have been offering the same service for years, and Gazelle.com and YouRenew accept practically any type of gadget. You can also look for EcoATMs or buy-back programs at major electronic chains. Your old phone can help in a number of ways, from conserving African gorillas to allowing soldiers stationed overseas to talk to their families.

As Cohen’s roots are in selling used books, his company also donates a book for each phone they recycle. "It gives our customers the chance to be green and give back to their communities,” he explained.

Moving from books to cellphones was an easy transition for the recycler, who claims to have been finding new homes for used goods for as long as he can remember. “I learned the benefits of re-use (while) working at my father’s used book business in Chicago, and I wanted to bring those same values to the recycling of used and broken phones,” he reported.

For those who truly want to be eco-friendly, consider purchasing a used phone. You can find the perfect location and program to recycle your old phone at ReCellular or any by using any of the sites above.

Tagged in: recycle, cellphone, cell phone, exchangemyphone, phone, recycling, e-waste,

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Purple Neon/LadyLUX via istock

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