As reported by Knight Ridder, a recent survey of leading U.S. wireless carriers (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and Cingular) found these companies have cell phone recycling programs that are ineffectual at best. The Cell Phone Recycling Report Card shows that the big four, which account for 86 percent of the U.S market, recycle less than two percent of the 130 million cell phones discarded in the U.S. each year. But my cell phone's so small. How can it harm the environment?
It's not just landfill space that consumers need to be aware of. Cell phones and other personal electronic devices contain the known human carcinogens lead, cadmium and arsenic and the brain toxin mercury, which qualify as hazardous according to EPA guidelines.