Programs, kiosks work to make students more aware
CU Recycling is continuing its efforts to educate students on the advantages of recycling their old cell phones, though students seem to be largely unaware of the program.
“Cell phone recycling is very beneficial. The plastics and precious metals can be very useful when recycled, but they can also be toxic if they’re not recycled properly,” said Daniel Baril, the recycling program manager at the CU Environmental Center.
“I know cell phone turnaround isn’t huge, but it’s good to at least have the option,” Baril said. “It’s definitely worthwhile to have it set up.”
CU Recycling works with Boulder-based company Wireless Alliance to recycle old cell phones. Wireless Alliance works with manufacturers, wireless carriers, recyclers and non-profits to collect and recycle used cell phone equipment.
In addition to recycling the cell phone components themselves, Wireless Alliance also works to refurbish phones so that they can be reused, for example as prepaid phones, Baril said.
A permanent recycling kiosk is located in the UMC across from Baby Doe’s. Cell phones, batteries and chargers can all be recycled. Students, faculty and staff can also send equipment through the university mail system to UCB 209 to be recycled.
One discarded cell phone and its battery can contaminate as much as 40,000 gallons of groundwater or a lake covering 26 acres, according to the environmental organization Basel Action Network. This factoid and others are printed on the front of the recycling kiosks.
Cell phone recycling is especially popular at the end of each semester when students are going home or moving. Special technology recycling events are held at the residence halls during those times, Baril said.
Senior film studies major Dan McClung and junior news-editorial major Julie Weinberger were hanging out in the UMC Tuesday
afternoon when asked if they knew about CU’s cell phone recycling program.
“No idea,” they said simultaneously, sitting on a couch a few feet from the recycling kiosk.
“I usually turn my old cell phone in at the store when I get a new one. They probably refurbish it and sell it as new,” McClung said.
Weinberger shared the same sentiments.
“I’ve always turned mine in too, if I don’t lose it first,” Weinberger said.
“Yeah,” McClung echoed. “If I don’t lose it or destroy it somehow.”