Happy Earth Day (almost): American Mobile Phone Recycling on the Rise (infographic)

Mobile technology changes rapidly, creating an equally-rapid increase in the amount of electronic waste in our landfills. Although electronic waste is only 2% of total trash in landfills, phones, laptops, tablets, and other discarded devices are the source of 70% of heavy metals in landfills. The good news is, American participation in e-waste recycling seems to be increasing as well. Responsible e-waste recycler eCycle Best has released a report showing how much the company has recycled, with the help of American consumers, in the past year.

Since Earth Day 2013, more than 34,000 gadgets were sent by American consumers to eCycle Best. Over 21,000 of these devices were smartphones, in addition to 11,000 laptops, and 2,000 tablets. This adds to the total number of recycled e-waste of about 29 million units nationally.

Electronic consumers buy more phones than laptops and other gadgets combined. In the US, about 10 million new electronics entered the market last year, and Americans dispose of as many old electronics each year as they buy newly released devices. According to a study done by the United Nations and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the US is number one in terms of e-waste generated per resident.

The study shows that each person annually discarded e-waste equal to the weight of a Golden retriever  (about 65 pounds). After seeing this data, Dave Kruchinin, CEO of eCycle Best, is hopeful that American consumers are getting wiser when it comes to throwing away their phones, tablets and laptops. “Although the numbers are relatively small when compared to overall amount of e-waste the country has generated,” he explains, “I believe that these numbers prove the increasing green awareness among American electronic consumers.”

Kruchinin points out that according to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2009, only about 12 million out (7%) of 162 million discarded phones were recycled nationally. However, in 2012, the EPA recorded an amount of 29 million devices recycled (over 200% increase from last year), including those collected by eCycle Best. The EPA has not yet released facts and figures for 2013, but Kruchinin is confident that the amount of recycled phones and other devices has increased between 20 to 30%.

Kruchinin adds that much e-waste is not actually waste at all, but rather equipment and electronic parts that can be marketable for reuse or recycled for materials recovery. If one million consumers recycle laptops and other devices, they could save energy equivalent to electricity used by 3,657 homes annually.

As Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22, eCycle Best encourages all Americans to think twice about discarding an electronic device. Kruchinin reminds everyone that each gadget wasted is a huge impact on the environment, and even on our health.

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A Final Note: Leading the mobile refurbishment market in North America since 2002, eCycle Best has specialized in buying old, used and broken mobile devices for refurbishment and resale. An environmentally conscious company, eCycle Best promotes tips and tricks for more sustainable modern living on the eCycle Best Blog.

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