"In 1985 there were less than half a million cell phone in the United States. Today there are 233 million." As Bette Fishbein from Inform says that is a "tremendous expansion". A new project entitled The Secret Life of Cell Phones aims to increase awareness of the dangerous amounts e-waste created by discarded cellphones and the ease with which we can recycle them.There are plenty more eye opening statistics in this video: How many phones does the average American own? How long do they use them for? How many recycled cell phones does it take to make a gold ring? Lloyd Hicks an e-waste expert working for Inform takes us on a fascinating journey from the streets of New York to toxic e-waste dumps in Nigeria and to the Umicore factory in Belgium, where they work to recover the precious metals in non reusable cell phones.
The Secret Life website is a straightforward way to learn more: providing information about where you can recycle your phones and how to take action to encourage others to do the same. This is just the first in an ongoing Secret Life series created by the environmental organisation Inform. Look out for the upcoming 'Secret Life of Paper'.
For those interested in reading more about recycling cell phones the New York Times published this detailed piece on the subject last week