So you just bought or were given a new cell phone. Or maybe, you purchased some new ink jets for your printer. The question is, what do you do with the cell phone or the empty ink jet cartridges you no longer need?
"Don't throw them away," said State Senator Tom Duane (D, WFP-Manhattan). "Recycle them."
"Only 20 to 40 percent of ink jet cartridges end up being recycled. The rest end up in local landfills, taking up valuable space for a long, long time, said Senator Duane. It takes 1,000 years for an ink jet cartridge to biodegrade. And that has a significant impact on our environment. Recycled cartridges can be reused, refilled and resold to customers at a lower price."
The Manhattan lawmaker said it is easy to get rid of your empties.
"Many companies provide postage-free packaging or printable labels you can use to send empty cartridges back to the manufacturer, he said. Some post offices offer small plastic envelopes where you can place your used cartridge, seal it up and drop it in the mail. You can also search the Internet for places that accept cartridges for cash and offer free shipping in the process."
Another way to recycle old ink jet cartridges is to donate them to charity.
"Recycling old cartridges is one innovative way that schools, community groups, sports teams, and clubs and organizations are raising cash for special projects, said Senator Duane. Calling your local school or any other non-profit organization is a great way to find out who might be willing to take them off your hands."
Old, unused cell phones should also be recycled, said Senator Duane. "According to the EPA, 125 million cell phones are discarded every year, with many of them sharing space with used ink jet cartridges in local landfills. These phones, if recycled, can literally do a world of good."
Senator Duane spoke of a nonprofit organization called Call2Recycle, which directs consumers with old phones to local drop boxes, simply by entering their zip code on the website www.rbrc.org/call2recycle.
"These unwanted phones can also be used to save lives," he said. "Many organizations take old phones and reprogram them for use by those in need. The Secure the Call Foundation (1-888-88DONATE/1-888-883-6628; or www.donatemycellphone.org), for example, provides refurbished, 911-enhanced cell phones to domestic violence victims and senior citizens. What better way to bring new life to used phones than by donating them to help save a life?"
Regardless of how you recycle your used ink jet cartridges or cell phones, said Senator Duane, you're doing your small part in helping the environment.
"Every cartridge or phone recycled or donated is one less unit in a landfill," he said. "You'll be saving space, as well as tax dollars that would otherwise go toward additional land management. It's become second nature to recycle bottles, cans, plastic and paper. Recycling inkjet cartridges and cell phones should be just as natural."