Sustainable Waste | Speaking of E-waste. The secret life of mobile phones

The video, made by, gives an answer to many central questions about the issue of e-waste, and in particular of mobile phones, recycling and disposal:

  • How are cell phones related to pollution, health, and global warming?
  • How much gold and silver can you get out of a cell phone?
  • Where do old cell phones and mobile devices go when you recycle them?
  • Why should you take those phones out of your sock drawer and take them back?
  • What toxins are in a typical cell phone?

More information can be found on their report. Reading the report I would like to share some of the very valuable information they share.

According to at the end of 2006 there were over 233 million mobile phones in use in US. Assuming that a person keeps a phone for 18 months on average, over 150 million phones are replaced per year…

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Your Thoughts on Recharging E-waste

Global Wire Associates

This post is part of Global Wire Associates’ Recharge E-Waste Campaign.

Thanks to the almost 300 entrants to our Recharge E-waste contest.  We got so many awesome answers, but we were only able to select a few for publication.  All of the winners will receive a refurbished iPod Nano and one free consultation with a Global Wire Associates staff member.  We asked you guys to tell us your “recharging” stories, and these are the top responses.

We received the video above from Melinda Farro of New Rochelle, New York, USA, which is about Kelvin Doe, a young Sierra Leonean who created his own radio station out of used batteries, generators and transmitters he found in the trash.  Doe became the youngest person in history to be invited to the “Visiting Practitioner’s Program” at MIT.  “I really love this kid,” Farro said.  “It is really great to see our…

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The e-waste story in India

Sand Prints

Every day I return home for lunch around 1 PM, when I always see a junk collector’s handcart parked on the street corner, along with the owner standing nearby. Surprisingly, I have never seen usual junk like empty bottles, tin cans, paper boxes and broken bathroom fittings on his cart. On the contrary, his cart is always parked with old Personal Computers, old CRT monitors, broken printers and all that kind of discarded electronic or e-junk. I have been always wondering, where from he manages get every day so many computers and printers? Finally, I decided to ask him directly and satisfy my curiosity. Few days back, I stopped my car near his cart and inquired with him, about the junk he had collected on his cart that day. The answers , which he gave me were quite revealing. All the electronic junk like computers, printers and old telephones, which…

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Rare earths are important components of consumer electronics – the minerals mined from the earth make the small, portable powerful electronics in demand this holiday season possible. With exotic names like Yttrium, Europium, Olmium, Thlulim and Praseodymium, these minerals found dispersed throughout the world are vital to modern life, making everything from LEDs to X-Ray machines possible.

Nearly all of the world’s supply of rare earth minerals is produced in China. While the minerals are available elsewhere in the world – a U.S. Geological Survey study from 2010 estimates deposits of 13 million tons of rare earth minerals in 14 states – extracting the minerals can be a difficult and expensive process.

Still, the exploitable rare earths deposits are a finite resource, and one that is controlled by a Chinese monopoly. With this mind, companies are looking at ways to mine rare earths from non-Chinese sources, both from the ground…

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With the holiday shopping season in full swing – and electronics on the top of Santa’s gift list – many organizations are staging electronics recycling drives in December to capture some of the old mobile phones, laptops and tablets that are being replaced.

It’s important to recycle – and not throw away – unwanted electronics. By now, most Americans should know, or at least have a basic feeling that, throwing electronics in the trash is wrong. Perhaps it’s a belief that something that expensive should have some residual value, or the (correct) notion that burying the high-tech components in a landfill could allow potentially harmful substances can leach out into groundwater.

For whatever the reason, Americans are slowly, but surely, beginning to recycle their electronics as automatically as they separate cans, bottles and paper from their household waste.

But is it enough to simply drive electronics down to the city…

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Enjoy a Greener Holiday: Entertaining

Art of Appreciation Gourmet Gift Baskets

By Lia Blanchard

You’ve already gotten your home decorated in an earth-friendly manner, and are expecting guests soon? The final article in our Enjoy a Greener Holiday series examines ways to entertain your holiday guests with a minimal impact on our environment.


This one is easy – invite your guests via the internet! Electronic invitations are everywhere these days, and are considered completely acceptable – even Emily Post has etiquette advice for e-vites. There are several online invitation services out there, and almost all of them are sophisticated, free, and 100% earth-friendly.


Entertaining during the holidays, even more than at other times of the year, often centers around food. From appetizers to dessert, everyone has beloved family recipes and traditions that are observed year after year. Fortunately, being ecology-minded doesn’t mean that your traditions should be set aside – not at all!

Menu:  Whatever you…

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