Project for Cell Phone Recycling Marks Earth Day



Garrett College students in Professor Beth Luers Cultural Geography class have undertaken a project reflecting the theme of
Replenish Earth's Resourcesto mark Earth Day 2014. They will collect broken or used cell phones and accessories to be recycled with the goal of gathering 1,000 cell phones. Collection boxes for these items will be in various locations throughout the area. These receptacles will be available April 14 – 28 at the following sites: Garrett College Library, Susquehanna Bank in Oakland and McHenry, First United Bank in Oakland, Western Maryland Health System Cancer Center and the Braddock Building in Cumberland, along with Frostburg State University.

Phones which are no longer operable will be sent to Cellular Alliance, a company that will pay for these items and use the reclaimed materials to build other products. Funds generated from this will be donated to the Cellphones for Soldiers organization along with the phones which are still in working order.

According to Midge Russell, one of the students participating in the project, they are targeting the phones and accessories because these items contain a large number of hazardous substances such as antimony, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, copper and lead, which can linger in the environment for a long time and have adverse effects on human health.

“Recycling cell phones helps the environment in a number of ways. Rrecycling just one cell phone saves enough energy to power a laptop for 44 hours. It also kkeeps useable and valuable materials out of landfills and incinerators,” Russell said, adding that most of the materials recycled from cell phones and related products can be used to manufacture new products.

The project proposal prepared by these students states that through recycling one million cell phones 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium, and 35,274 pounds of copper can be recovered in addition to tin, zinc and platinum. They note that the mmetals recovered are used in many industries such as Jewelry making, electronics, and automotive manufacturing. In addition, the students pointed out that recovered plastics can be recycled into other components for new electronic devices, plastic garden furniture, and plastic packaging and auto parts.

To learn more about this Earth Day project persons may contact Beth Luers by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.