Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Answer the 'Call 2 Recycle.'

The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (a non-profit public service organization) just started a new website,, with everything you need to know about recycling the rechargeable batteries found in cellular and cordless phones, cordless power tools, laptop computers, camcorders, digital cameras, and remote control toys. As I've mentioned before, it is very important to recycle these batteries. Here are three reasons why:

1) Coltan is a tar-like mineral found primarily in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), and is vital in cellphones, laptops, pagers and other electronics. Congo rebel armies sell it illegally to buy weapons. Illegal mining of it in Congo's eastern lowlands has decreased gorilla populations. When you decrease the need for coltan, you decrease illegal mining and the reduce finances for the civil war in Congo. You also help protect gorilla populations.

2) Between 50 and 80 per cent of e-waste from North American cell phone companies ends up in China, Thailand, India and Pakistan. Workers are exposed to many toxic compounds and are paid $1.50 a day or less to break apart and process electronic equipment. When you recycle, your waste does not make someone else sick.

3) According to a Canadian report, 4,328 tons of telephones, fax machines and cell phones will end up in landfills this year. That's equivalent to the weight of 583 African elephants. We don't have room for that kind of waste. Recycling reduces waste.

Okay, so now are you ready to recycle? The cell phones are either refurbished for reuse or recycled in an environmentally-sound manner. The rechargeable batteries that power the cell phones and other products are recycled to reclaim reusable materials that are used in stainless steel production and to make new batteries.

Note that the website can be viewed in Spanish, Chinese, French or English, or you can call 1-877-2-RECYCLE for more information. So find a drop off site near you, and answer the call to recycle!


Karama said...

For more information on why you should recycle rechargeable batteries and why you should encourage others to do the same, please read these two excellent articles and their associated references, here and here. Spread the word!

Karama said...

For more on reducing e-waste, see the January 10th post.

Gareth said...

Just thought I'd let you know that Coltan Mining and its effect on Mountain Gorillas is one of the topics that has appeared on my blog Another Chance To See.

Keep up the good work!

Karama said...

Thanks for the link, Gareth. This is an important issue for a number of reasons. I'm glad to see it's getting attention in the blogosphere. I hope you enjoyed your visit to 'So what can I do.' I hope you'll stop by again soon and spread the word.

Karama said...

Check out the March 9th post for more ways to recycle e-waste.

Karama said...

Please read the January 31st post for more on "Call 2 Recycle".

Anonymous said...

I have been using a local recycler called E-Tech Recycling. I know them for few years and know that they actually recycle 95% of items they receive unlike some other recyclers. For more information visit them at

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