Clark Gardens Botanical Park Offers Free Texas Native Trees for Recycled Cell Phones

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Millions of cell phones will be recycled or thrown away this year, or simply put in a drawer and forgotten about. Clark Gardens Botanical Park located in Parker County in North Central Texas, offers the public a way to properly dispose of used cell phones and will donate a tree sapling for each phone recycled.

According to Verena Radulovic with the EPA over 50 million cell phones will end up in the landfill in a year’s time.Millions of cell phones will be recycled or thrown away this year, or simply put in a drawer and forgotten about. Clark Gardens Botanical Park offers the public a way to properly dispose of used cell phones and will donate a tree sapling for each phone.

So why recycle? Cell phones are rich in metals; namely gold, silver and copper. Recycled cell phones can be sent to a smelter to recover these minerals or can be sent to a de-manufacturing system. The de-manufacturing process increases the recovery rate of materials including plastics, with the plastics going for reuse or recycling.

The energy savings from recycling a million cell phones in greenhouse gas savings is equal to driving over 1,000 cars a year. Additionally, recycling one million cell phones could yield nearly 4 metric tones of gold which would reduce the need to mine rock to recover the gold.

The incorrect disposal of the cell phone can create a form of poisoning. The immediate effects include health problems and the long term effect is global pollution. Each cell phone contains at least eight toxic elements. According to E-waste: Harmful Materials, “cell phone coatings can be made of lead, and the older types of cell phone batteries contained nickel and cadmium.” Cadmium, considered the seventh most harmful known chemical, is listed as a human carcinogen that causes lung and liver damage. One cell phone can contaminate 35,000 gallons of water, if it gets into the landfill – that’s enough water for 153 people for one year.

Carol Clark Montgomery, Director of Clark Gardens, says “Clark Gardens is dedicated to educating the public in ways to improve our environment. Once we became aware of the seriousness of the incorrect disposal of cell phones, we wanted to not only offer a simple way to dispose of cell phones but to also offer an incentive to correctly dispose of them.” For every cell phone brought to Clark Gardens, Clark Gardens will donate a tree sapling to the individual bringing in the phone. The saplings are all Texas Natives; bur oaks, chinkapin oak, green ash or a shumard oak.

This program will be in effect until all the trees have been donated. According to Montgomery “we are working with the program Phoneraiser.com. The gardens will receive a cash donation from Phoneraiser.com for each phone recycled. The funds raised will be put back into the gardens educational programs. Clark Gardens is a 501c3 offering free educational programs to area wide school aged children.”

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Carol Clark Montgomery
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