If you’re like many Americans, you probably have several products at your house that you no longer have use for and, admittedly, you probably have no idea what to do with them.
One of the biggest offenders is electronics. Printers that don’t work quite right, old laptops, and cords that belong to who knows what. But the most commonly held onto electronic is the cellphone. Not only is throwing them away wasteful, but Live Science says that it’s actually harmful to do so. E-waste (waste created from electronics and batteries) makes up “as much as 70 percent of the heavy metals in landfills, including 40 percent of all lead.”
Thankfully there’s a simple step that you can take to rectify the situation. To reduce your carbon footprint, consider taking part in Verizon Wireless’ recycle program.
There are two different ways that you can choose to recycle your old phone through the program. With the first, you can trade in your old phone and Verizon will issue you a gift card towards the purchase of a new phone or accessory. Because they adhere to a zero landfill policy, their first priority is to refurbish the phone. If that is not possible, they follow the proper procedures for correctly recycling the device.
With the second option, the phone will be utilized for their charitable organization, HopeLine. Founded in 2001, HopeLine collects used cellphones and similar devices, refurbishes them, and distributes them to those impacted by domestic violence. With the aid of a cellphone, victims and survivors have a way of reaching emergency services in the time of a crisis in addition to family and friends for support. It’s a vital link that many of us take for granted, but the phones can make all the difference for someone in need of a way to safely contact someone else for assistance.
Since 2001, the organization has collected more than 10.8 million phones and granted more than $21 million to domestic violence organizations. Over the years, they have kept 260 tons of e-waste and batteries out of landfills.
If you feel like keeping a backup cell phone around just in case something happens to yours, by all means. But if you have a drawer in your house filled with a variety of phones, some of which you can’t even remember using, then it’s time to donate! It’s quick, easy, and it’s really just the right thing to do. Not only will you be doing good for the environment, but it really is a great way to help out others people in need—one in four women, one in seven men and more than 3 million children in America are affected by domestic violence.