The average cell phone user replaces his or her phone every 18 months. But what happens to their old phone?

It turns out that 40% of people keep their old phones as a spare. While this seems like the smart thing to do, you might not even realize that you have multiple cell phones in a box at the back of your closet. 

Unlike other types of waste, electronic waste (e-waste) can be harmful if left to decay. Phones, and other electronics, are made up of valuable and precious metals that can not decompose in a landfill.

Benefits of Recycling Phones

If you recycle your e-waste at a local recycling center or store, like Best Buy, the materials will be sourced.  In addition to plastic, cell phones contain copper, gold, silver, and palladium, which can be broken down and reused.

You can also consider sending your phones overseas to developing countries. Not only will it help people communicate, but it also creates business opportunities. According to the infographic, “When 10 more people out of 100 in a developing countries use mobile phones the GDP rises by .59% per capita.”

Cell phone companies have also run campaigns to raise awareness about recycling. For example, Nokia donated money to various causes and offered free music and games to people who donated. Still, the large majority of people are holding onto phones.

What’s stopping you from recycling your phone or donating it to a good cause?

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