California Passes Law Requiring Cell Phone Retailers to Recycle Phones

I may be a gadget/technology-junkie, but I’m definitely concerned about the environment and do whatever I can to recycle as much as possible. I was pretty happy to see that my home state (California) has put into effect a law requiring any store selling cell phones to take them back (without charge to the end-consumer) for recycling and/or proper disposal. This also goes for rechargeable batteries, which are pretty toxic. Oh, and this law took effect July 1. Ok, so they are lagging a bit in making this better known, but at least it’s a good start. Earlier in the year, the state made it illegal for consumers to throw most electronics into the trash. So don’t go tossing your old VCR into the dumpster!

This is a pretty sad statistic: only an estimated 2% of all cell phones tossed out every year in the States are recycled. What’s even more staggering is the total #: 130 million! On the one hand, that sounds like roughly 1 in 2 cell phone users change their phone every year. On the other, only 2% care enough to recycle? I’d really like to see some of the environmental groups spend some of their money on public service type campaigns (television/radio/billboards/Internet/etc.). Not enough people out there really understand how dangerous the things they buy that they throw into the trash and how it eventually ends up affecting them and their environment.

In other, related good news, Dell has launched a huge campaign to recycle *any* Dell-branded equipment for free. It doesn’t even appear to have any strings – any customer, anywhere in the world, and you don’t have to buy anything either.