Environmental Protection Agency Gives Green Light to Cleaning up E-Waste

Share Article

In the spotlight: PlantMyPhone sets goal of planting 10 million trees through cell phone recycling

Eco Lands at Outside Lands Music Festival

When those 10 million people recycle their phones, thats at least 10 million trees planted around the world cleaning the air.

In an address to the 17th regular session of the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced cleaning up e-waste as one of the EPA’s six international priorities. As technology advances, so does the output of electronic waste. While some electronic waste is disposed of in ways that are not damaging to the environment, many, according to the EPA, “end up discarded in developing countries where improper disposal can threaten local people and the environment.” A barrier to proper e-waste disposal is information. Though people may know that items such as batteries, cell phones and computers are not supposed to be thrown in with the regular garbage, finding how and where to dispose e-waste products is not always easy. However, going green has become a part of popular culture and events. At San Francisco’s recent Outside Lands Music Festival, August 14-15, in addition to performers such as The Strokes, Kings of Leon and Phoenix, concert-goers also enjoyed an area devoted to ecological causes. The “EcoLands” section featured many forms of environmentally-friendly services, including the Panhandle solar-powered stage, a refillable water program, and an e-waste recycling program for cell phones.

Electronic waste is more than just a matter of reducing the output of a tech-savvy society. Every day items like computers and cell phones contain hazardous toxins. When these items are unsafely discarded, lead, mercury, arsenic and other harmful substances are released into soil, water and air.

In fitting with the EPA’s goals of “supporting the improvement of design, production, handling, reuse, recycling, and disposal of electronic waste,” Outside Lands Music Festival Eco Lands featured PlantMyPhone; a social venture working to increase participation in cell phone recycling through free and easy recycling in order to fund tree planting. According to the Environmental Protection Agency that 140 million cell phones are retired each year, yet only an estimated 10% are being recycled.

As a part of Eco Lands, PlantMyPhone launched a a new campaign for people to make a pledge to recycle their current phone upon getting a new one. The pledge is a simple promise but brings with it significant effects. Pledging to recycle fulfills a very important goal of spreading awareness about cell phone recycling through individual pledges and sharing those pledges through social networks. Additionally, because many cell phone users do not have a phone to recycle at the time, the pledge functions also functions as a reminder to recycle when the time comes.

PlantMyPhone is aiming to spread the pledge for safe e-waste recycling and disposal to ten million cell phone users. “We plant at least one tree per recycled phone,” explained PlantMyPhone co-founder Krates Ng. “When those 10 million people recycle their phones, thats at least 10 million trees planted around the world cleaning the air.” Trees play a vital role in fighting climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Each tree planted, on average, can absorb 50 pounds of carbon dioxide every year for at least 40 years; totaling one ton in the course of a tree’s life-span.

To join the pledge campaign, visit http://www.plantmyphone.com to take part in reducing the negative effects of e-waste and fighting climate change.

About PlantMyPhone
Headquartered in San Francisco, PlantMyPhone is a social venture focused on fostering environmental solidarity by making it easy for anyone to fight climate change and by providing the tools to inspire others to do the same. PlantMyPhone enables individuals to recycle their old cellphones for free to fund the planting of trees and protect local water systems. Award-winning nonprofit organizations specializing in agroforestry projects—which restore depleted lands and boost the agricultural productivity and incomes of indigenous peoples in some of the poorest parts of the world—plant the actual trees across 12 countries. For more information about cell phone recycling visit http://www.PlantMyPhone.com.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Hans Chung
Email >
Visit website