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Don't Trash Or Stash Old Cell Phones; Recycle Them

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Don't Trash Or Stash Old Cell Phones; Recycle Them

Environment

Don't Trash Or Stash Old Cell Phones; Recycle Them

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And one wonders what people will do with all those old TiVos once the new device comes along. Apparently, lots of people have old cell phones rattling around desk drawers - or theyve thrown them out.

Each year, Americans toss out 130 million cell phones, to the dismay of the Environmental Protection Agency. This week, the EPA has launched a campaign with mobile phone companies to preach the message of recycling.

NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN: A Sprint video on YouTube uses ridicule and humor to urge people to recycle their cell phones. It compares throwing away your cell phone to keeping the door on your refrigerator open to cool down your house.

(Soundbite of video)

Unidentified Man #1: Is it me, or is it getting warm in here?

Unidentified Woman #1: You want me to turn up the fridge?

Unidentified Man #1: Mm-hmm.

Unidentified Man #2: You'd never be this wasteful, would you?

SHOGREN: Other companies are trying a softer approach. Samsung is holding a sweepstakes for schools and providing teaching materials about recycling.

Kim Titus represents Samsung Telecommunications America.

Mr. KIM TITUS (Samsung Telecommunications America): We're targeting schools because we think that's where the passion point is. This is the group that really will get excited about holding drives to recycle phones.

SHOGREN: The winning school will get a private concert with rock group Hey Monday. Others will win cash. Samsung hopes to bring in a million phones.

The EPA says recycling those phones would reap 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, and 35,274 pounds of copper. It also would save energy and cut water and air pollution, including greenhouse gases.

Elizabeth Shogren, NPR News, Washington.

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