SEE: How Cell Phones Are Recycled


This year, 1.6 billion phones were manufactured. And in the blink of an eye, they’ll be outdated and probably sitting in a junk drawer.

Currently, only about 10 percent of cell phones in the U.S. are recycled. It’s a problem that occurs for many reasons, including concern for what happens to old phones once they are turned in for recycling. Consumers worry that their data will not be secure, or that phones might be processed in a dangerous manner. Surprisingly, many phones that savvy techies would consider to be simply scrap parts are not shredded and separated down into their base components, but rather lightly refurbished and sold in markets where the technology is still useful.

READ: How Can We Increase Cell Phone Recycling Rates?

Perhaps if we knew a bit more about how the whole process worked, fewer old phones would be hanging out in our closets, and more would be in recycling programs. Check out the video above for a rundown on how recycling through one of the largest carriers in the U.S. works.


Editor’s Note: Earth911 partners with many industries, manufacturers and organizations to support its Recycling Directory, the largest in the nation, which is provided to consumers at no cost. Sprint is one of these partners.

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