Friday, January 25, 2008

The Afterlife of Cell Phones

Cell phones are everywhere. But what happens to the old ones after they've been replaced?

A detailed article titled The Afterlife of Cell Phones in the New York Times explains a lot. Also a video and site called The Secret Life of Cell Phones is also quite informative.

This is a big problem in our gadget-obsessed society because everyone wants the latest one as a status symbol without thinking about the consequences. People have to find ways to feel good about themselves other than buying everything.

9 comments:

BBC said...

I was stupid enough to buy a cell phone once. Only used it about four times in two years. So I stopped buying minutes for it and just keep it in case I need to make a 911 call.

After the battery dies I'll take it to Radio Shack so they can recycle it. And I won't replace it.

Izrail said...

Thanks for this post. I find the cell phone culture rather disturbing, honestly. I don't understand people's need for a new phone every 12 months. I've had the same phone for about three years now and don't plan to replace it anytime soon. But when I do decide to replace it (probably when it stops working), I plan to recycle it at my local PetSmart. They have a program where you pick up mailing envelopes at the store and mail in cell phones and ink cartridges for recycling and they use the money to help homeless pets. What a concept. You mean I can recycle and save kitties?! Sweet!

prcizmadia said...

Excellent post... this issue definitely needs attention. Back home, there is a program where you can turn in old and functional phones to be refurbished and turned over to women in domestic violence shelters. I think that's a great way to keep them from the bin... but long term, design changes and easier recycling NEEDS to be made available.

BBC said...

I got my electric bill today. $71.37. Pretty darn hard to get off the grid when I can get heat and lights that cheap.

I can't make heat and lights that cheap in a green way. If I had a small stream on my place I could, but I don't. Sigh.

grandmatexas said...

An article in National Geographic told about the electronic waste that is going overseas and disassembled by children, exposing them to mercury and other toxins.
At what price, gadgets?

www.watchgrandmaonduty.blogspot.com

FeButterfly said...

BBC, too bad about the electric bill. Hopefully you're not charging your gadgets :)

I have made posts about e-waste in the past so if you come around Grandma Texas you can find them.

Thanks to everyone for the comments. I appreciate hearing from all of you.

Ian said...

I give my old cellphones to the local abused women shelter. They give them to woman who can't afford a cell phone but may need one to call 911 on if they need help and can't get to house phone.

After that though I guess it will go to a recycling place. Although I worry after that it will just go to a digital garbage heap in China...

http://thewebisweird.blogspot.com/

sarah friend said...

This is an issue I never understood either. It seems all of my friends have the new 'blackberry' or 'chocolate' phone. I wait curiously to see who will have the new iPhone next week . . . but it seems like all this new technology is alway running into errors and breaking on them.

My cell phone is so old I inherited it from my grandfather . . . but if I've dropped it once, I've dropped it a hundred times. Guess what? Still works.

Reverse Cell Phone Lookup said...

Cell phones *can* be incredibly useful but when they come to the end of their lives, they are no more use than a house brick. Make sure you recycle them as much as possible.