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  • 1. 46 The Life Cycle The Life Cycle of a Cell Phone Packaging & End-of-Life The Life Cycle of a Cell Phone Transportation of a Cell Phone Donating or recycling cell phones when you no longer need or want them extends their useful Cell phone parts and the finished products lives, and prevents them from ending up in the need packaging and transportation to get from trash where they can potentially cause environ- one place to another. Transportation by plane, mental problems. truck, or rail all require the use of fossil fuels Y for energy, which can contribute to global Reuse ±Keeping your phone longer. Choose ou have one, your parents have one, your M at e r ial s climate change. Many organizations—including recyclers, chari- friends each have one—owning a cell phone your cell phone service provider carefully. ties, and electronics manufacturers—accept has become as common as having a tradi- Pick a phone with features you need and a While packaging protects products from dam- E x t r a ctio n working cell phones and offer them to schools, tional land-line in your home. More than 156 mil- style you like so you will keep it longer. age, identifies contents, and provides informa- community organizations, and individuals in lion Americans now use cell phones—including tion, excessive or decorative packaging can be need. Reuse gives people, who could not oth- ±Charging your battery correctly. about 20 percent of American teens! In a way, wasteful. Packaging erwise afford them, free or reduced cost cell phones have become a necessity of everyday Increase the life span of your phone and consumes valuable access to new phones and their accessories. life—we use them to call home when we’re late, battery by following the manufacturer’s direc- natural resources, In 1985, about 340,000 Plus, it extends the useful lifetime of a phone. M at e r ial s make plans with friends, or get directions when tions for charging the battery. such as paper people used cell phones we’re lost. But have you ever thought about how (from trees), plas- in the United States; in ±Reusing or recycling your phone. cell phones are made and what happens to them tic (from crude oil 2003, more than 140 P r o c e ss i n g Take-Back Programs when you don’t need them anymore? Find ways to reuse or recycle your phone and in the earth), alu- million people used Many cell phone manufacturers and accessories when you’re finished with them. minum (from ore), or cell phones. service providers offer a “take-back” pro- Like any product, making a cell phone and its Many companies recycle or reuse cell other materials, all of gram. Under this system, manufacturers parts uses natural resources and energy, which phones—visit the “Resources” section of which use energy to produce accept used cell phones and accessories can potentially impact the air, land, and water. this poster for a list of suggestions. and can result in waste. Some packaging, how- and either recycle, re-manufacture, or Understanding the life cycle of a product can ever, can be made from recycled materials. Today, more than 5 dispose of them using systems designed help you make environmental choices about Follow the life-cycle diagram to learn more 1.2 billion cell phones the products you use, and how you dispose of about cell phones, their parts, and their to handle the specific types of waste cell Disposal are in use worldwide. them. You can help minimize your environ- Useful Life potential impact on the environment... phones produce. Contact your mental impact of using a cell phone by: manufacturer by using the Unlike other countries, cell phone companies information that came with your in the United States sell their own phones, phone or via the Internet. 12 which are usually not interchangeable from company to company. Even though regulations now allow consumers to transfer their phone Materials Extraction Materials Processing Recycling Recycle number to a new phone company, most com- Electronics recyclers are springing up every- panies have unique technologies in their A cell phone is made up of many materials. Most raw materials must be processed before where! Today, many stores, manufacturers, and phones that only work in In general, the handset consists of 40 percent manufacturers can use them to make prod- recycling centers accept cell phones for recy- their own networks. metals, 40 percent plastics, and 20 percent ucts. For example, in cell phones: cling. While some electronics recyclers only Cell phones are only This means that ceramics and trace materials. accept large shipments, communities, schools, used for an average of switching cell —Crude oil is combined with natural gas and or groups can work together to collect used cell 18 months before being phone companies ± The circuit board (also called a printed chemicals in a processing plant to make phones for shipment to electronics recyclers. replaced—even though can mean having wiring board), located in the handset, is the plastic; they can function for M a n u f a ctu r i n g to purchase a new —Copper is mined, ground, heated, and treated “brain” of the cell phone because it controls Some rechargeable batteries can also be recy- much, much longer. phone. One way to all of its functions. with chemicals and electricity to isolate the cled, as several retail stores and some commu- E n d - o f - Li f e extend the useful life pure metal used to make circuit boards and nities have started collecting them. When of your phone and prevent —Circuit boards are made from mined, raw batteries. The resulting copper pieces are rechargeable batteries are recycled, the recov- waste is to use the same company for continu- materials including copper, gold, lead, nickel, shipped to a manufacturer where they are ered materials can be used to make new batter- ing phone service. Always comparison-shop to zinc, beryllium, tantalum, coltan, and other formed into wires and sheets. ies and stainless steel products. be sure you get the service and phone that’s 3 metals. The manufacturing of these boards right for you. requires crude oil for plastic, and sand and Check the “Resources” section of this poster limestone for fiberglass. Many of these for a list of organizations that will accept your Manufacturing You can also extend the life of your phone by materials are known as “persistent toxins” phone and accessories for reuse or recycling. taking care of it—protecting it from damage by and can stay in the environment for long You can also use the Internet or phone book to Plastics and fiberglass are used to make the storing it in a case, avoiding dropping it, and periods of time, even after disposal. search for local contacts that recycle and refur- basic shape of the circuit board, which is keeping it out of extreme heat and cold and bish cell phones. then coated with gold plating. The board is away from water and other liquids. ± The liquid crystal display (LCD) is a also composed of several electronic compo- low-power, flat-panel display on the Disposal nents, connected with circuits and front of your phone that shows By 2005, the rate at which cell phones are dis- wires (primarily made of copper) information and images. It carded is predicted to exceed 125 million The use of rechargeable that are soldered to the board and Approximately 20 percent becomes opaque (hard to phones each year, resulting in more than batteries in cell phones reduces the secured with protective glues of American teens (more see through) when electric 65,000 tons of waste! Cell phones that are amount of waste and toxicity that dis- and coatings. girls than boys) own a cell current passes through it. thrown in the trash end up in landfills (buried in posable batteries create. Be sure to fol- phone. By the end of 2005, The contrast between the the ground) or incinerators (burned). Because LCDs are manufactured by low the manufacturer’s instructions for nearly two-thirds of all U.S. sandwiching liquid crystal opaque and transparent cell phones contain metals, plastics, chemi- charging your batteries so you can (see-through) areas forms teens will be wireless! cals, and other potentially hazardous sub- between layers of glass or plastic. extend their lives as long as possible. visible characters. stances, you should always recycle, donate, or U se f u l trade in your old cell phone. It’s free and easy. Batteries consist of two separate parts, —Various liquid crystalline substances, either Don’t throw it away! Phones that are thrown R e u se called electrodes, made from two different naturally occurring (such as mercury, a away waste energy and result in the loss of metals. A liquid substance, called electrolytes, Li f e potentially dangerous substance) or human- valuable resources. touches each electrode. When an outside P a c ka g i n g & made, are used to make LCDs. LCDs also source of electricity such as an outlet is require the use of glass or plastic. applied, chemical reactions between the elec- Crank Up the Volume trodes and the electrolytes cause an T r a n s p o r t atio n ± The rechargeable battery is used to electric current to flow, giving batteries their A major cell phone manufacturer recently developed a way to recharge cell power the phone. “juice” or power. phone batteries using “muscle power.” This hand-powered device provides By 2005, cell —Cell phones can use several types of batter- 20 minutes of talk time after just three minutes of squeezing a hand-held phones will be discarded generator! Other new technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cells and zinc-air ies: nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH), lithium-ion at a rate of more than and solar-powered batteries, are under development and might ultimately (Li-Ion), nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd), or lead acid. 125 million phones each replace current battery technology. Ni-MH and Ni-Cd batteries contain nickel, year, resulting in more These new alternatives will conserve cobalt, zinc, cadmium, and copper. Li-Ion bat- than 65,000 tons natural resources and reduce waste. teries use lithium metallic oxide and carbon- Between 1999 and 2003, of waste! based materials, all mined from the earth. 2.5 million phones were collected to be recycled or The Nine Lives of a Cell Phone reused, accounting for less than Using Less Stuff 1 percent of the millions of Cell phones consist of nine basic parts, ±Keypad phones retired or discarded each of which has its own life cycle: ±Microphone Cell phone companies have made great strides in “dematerialization” each year. ±Speaker ±Circuit board/printed wiring board (using less materials) as shown by the decreasing size of today’s cell ±Plastic casing ±Liquid crystal display (LCD) phones. Years ago, the technology needed for a cell phone would ±Accessories (such as adapters, headsets, ±Battery have filled the entire floor of an office building; now everything ±Antenna carrying cases, and decorative face plates) needed for a cell phone weighs only 7.7 ounces!
  • 2. What Is a Life Cycle? Words from the Wise Hand-Held Hunt Components Crossword U S W H ome of the things that are part of your every First, write down your views on whether the fol- se the following clues about the different parts of a cell phone to fill in the crossword. hether at school, home, or out running Consider whether the people ±Materials Processing. Once materials are ave you ever considered where the products day life didn’t exist when your grandparents lowing items are necessary or optional, and why. errands, people use hand-held electronic are kids, teenagers, or adults extracted, they must be converted into a form you use every day come from, or what were your age. While we might think we Then interview an older relative or friend (more devices everywhere they go. Take an infor- and whether they are male that can be used to make products. For exam- happens to them when you finish using them? need these things, many people got along fine than 50 years old) to ask what they think about mal survey to find out who uses the following or female. For example, Across ple, paper is made from trees, but the wood has Do you know how each of the products you use without them in times past. the same things. Compare and discuss your items in the various locations you visit during a spend a half-hour at the mall and to undergo several different processes before impacts the environment? answers. How different or similar are they? single day. This activity will illustrate how many 1. The battery, the LCD, and the ______ identify how many people in each category are we can use it. Compare your thoughts on the following items Why? Discuss how new products reduce waste, people own and use cell phones and their acces- board create 98 percent of a cell using the items listed below. Perhaps adult men Just as living things are born, get older, and die, with those of someone older than you. and how new products increase waste. sories. You may discover interesting trends in who phone’s environmental impacts. use belt clips more than younger women. Is that ±Manufacturing. Products are made in facto- products also complete a life cycle. Each stage of a Here’s how: is buying and using cell phones and their acces- true? Find answers to these questions, and turn ries and require a great deal of energy to create. product’s life cycle can affect the environment in 4. Cell phones that are thrown away sories in your community! your results into a graph or chart. Item Your Thoughts Older Generation’s Thoughts The manufacturing process can also produce different ways. Some products, such as cell waste energy and result in the loss pollution. Many products require the use of phones, have many different components, each of of valuable _______. Microwave oven packaging as well, to prevent spoilage, damage, which has its own life cycle in addition to the life 7. Each part of a cell phone must be Headset: contamination, and tampering. cycle of the composite product. The stages of a Many people use a cell phone headset while they are driving or walking ______ and transported, which product’s life cycle usually include: around to keep their hands free. Most models of headsets can be reused ±Packaging & Transportation. The use of requires energy and often creates when you buy a new phone. ±Design. A product’s design can influence each waste. packaging can protect products from damage Cell phone and provide product information. However, pack- stage of its life cycle and in turn the environment. 9. Some facilities will recycle ______ aging consumes valuable natural resources and Design affects which materials will be used to Belt clip: batteries when they can no longer Some people buy belt clips to carry cell phones while not in use. Reusing when used excessively can be wasteful. Some manufacture a product. For example, cheaper be reused. or donating your belt clip when you are finished using it prevents waste. packaging can be made from materials are often less durable, which means recycled materials. the product will have a short useful life. Product Pager 10. Cell phones are actually not phones design can also prevent waste in many ways. at all but sophisticated two-way Face plate: Decorative face plates can be trendy and fun, but you don't need them to Finished products are Products can be designed with modular compo- _______. use a cell phone. The best way to prevent waste is to simply not buy prod- transported in trucks, nents that can be easily replaced so that the 11. LCDs are a low-power, flat panel ucts you don't need. If you do buy face plates, donate unwanted ones to a planes, and trains to different entire product does not have to be thrown display made by sandwiching liquid charity or swap them with your friends instead of throwing them away. locations where they are sold. All of these away if only one piece breaks. Items Camera ______ between layers of glass forms of transportation burn fossil fuels, which meant to last a long time can or plastic. can contribute to global climate change. avoid trendy designs so Portable games they are not Cell phones have a lot of the same parts as hand-held video game ±Use. The way products are used can impact the Down and CD players: thrown away consoles and portable CD players, including speakers, circuit boards, and environment. For example, products that are when they go LCDs. Old or broken consoles and players can also be reused or recycled 1. Circuits and wires on a circuit board are primarily made from ______. Compact disc only used once create more waste than prod- out of style. when no longer wanted. ucts that are used again and again. 2. Ni-MH and Ni-Cd batteries contain nickel, cobalt, cadmium, ______, and copper, metals that need to be mined and processed, which creates pollution and waste. ±Reuse/Recycling/Disposal. Using a product ±Materials Extraction. All products are made Personal Digital Assistant Advances in cell phone technology have given phones many uses, 3. Many cell phone parts can be removed from the phone and ______ or recycled. over and over again prevents the need to create from materials found in or on the earth. “Virgin” (PDA): such as storing phone numbers and searching the Internet. An emerging the product from scratch, which saves or “raw” materials, such as trees or ore, are Video game 5. Batteries consist of two separate parts, called _________. trend is to create one device with many uses, such as a PDA that also resources and energy while also preventing pol- directly mined or harvested from the earth, a functions as a cell phone. This consolidation reduces waste by reducing lution. Recycling or re-manufacturing products process that can create pollution, use large 6. Plastics and ______ are used to make the basic shape of a circuit board. the number of individual items a person has to buy. also reduces the amount of new materials that amounts of energy, and deplete limited natural 8. Crude oil is combined with natural gas and chemicals to make ______. have to be extracted from the earth. Throwing a resources. Making new products from materials Recycled/Recyclable—Printed with vegetable oil based inks on 100% postconsumer, process chlorine free recycled paper. product away means that it will end up in a land- that have already been used (recycled materials) Radio fill or incinerator and will not be useful again. can reduce the amount of raw materials we need to take from the earth. Math Activity 1: Cell Phone Users Resources The Big Debate: Sport utility vehicle Options for Reuse & Recycling 1. Reuse, Recycle, or Dispose? Cell phone users in the United States increased from 340,000 people in 1985 to approximately ±Collective Good ±National Recycling Coalition’s (NRC’s) 140 million people in 2003. A. Electronic Recycling Initiative C This means that on average, how many NEW cell phone users are there per year? Collective Good refurbishes donated cell phones and Computer B. the end of their useful life. It can be a research ell phones are complicated products, which uses them to provide affordable wireless service In 2003 there were roughly ___ times more American cell phone users than in 1985. electronics/index.htm project for individuals or assigned to teams for makes recycling or disposing of them just as throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. NRC’s Electronics Recycling Initiative promotes the discussion. complicated. This activity examines options for ±Cellular Telecommunications & Internet recovery, reuse, and recycling of obsolete electronic 2. reusing, recycling, or disposing of cell phones at Approximately 20 percent of teenagers in the United States own a mobile phone. equipment. Association (CTIA) A. Life Cycle Web Sites If 200 teenagers go to your school, about how many of them own a cell phone? 1. VCR CTIA is an international association for the wireless What are some of the end-of-life options for cell phones? List the options and discuss B. telecommunications industry. ±U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the pros and cons of each. What if 1,500 teenagers go to your school? Then about how many own a cell phone? Pros Cons ±Charitable Recycling Product Stewardship Program This program provides information on life cycle _________________________________________ ___________________________________________ Charitable Recycling Program encourages the dona- Math Activity 2: On-Hold environmental impacts of products. Answering machine tion of used cell phones. _________________________________________ ___________________________________________ ±U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ±Plug-in to eCycling Program Green Engineering Program _________________________________________ ___________________________________________ EPA, in partnership with several companies and 1. Did you know that, on average, cell phones are used for only 18 months before being replaced? _________________________________________ ___________________________________________ This program advocates designing products with their organizations, is helping consumers of electronic Most unused phones are stored in drawers or closets before eventually being thrown away. In fact, entire life cycle in mind. products tap into a network of recycling opportuni- more than 30 million mobile phones are lying unused in American homes and businesses. ties nationwide. ±United Nations Environment Programme, 2. Find out what cell phone manufacturers, recyclers, and local authorities have to say about end-of-life A. If a person buys a new cell phone every 18 months, how many phones will they buy ±ReCellular, Inc. Life Cycle Initiative options for cell phones. in 6 years? United States or ± Conduct Internet research or call a company that produces cell phones. Find out what it considers Environmental Protection Agency This web site provides information about products Solid Waste and Emergency Response (5305W) to be the useful life of a cell phone. Ask what the policy is for accepting its cell phones back for and services over their entire life cycle. EPA530-H-04-002 ReCellular, Inc. is a recycler and reseller of used 2. recycling or remanufacturing. Starting in 2005, it is predicted that more than 125 million cell phones—65,000 tons of waste—will wireless phones and accessories. August 2004 Other Information be discarded annually. This potentially serious environmental problem can easily be avoided by ± Find out what your teachers do with their cell phones at the end of their useful life. ±Rechargeable Battery Recycling ±, Inc. understanding how to reuse and recycle phones, prolonging their useful life. ± Contact a local recycling center and ask it if accepts old cell phones. 8. Plastic 11. Crystal Corporation (RBRC) A. Suppose that 300 million cell phones have already been discarded by the end of 2004. Using ± Contact a cell phone recycler to learn about its recycling practices and what products are made 6. Fiberglass 10. Radios This web site provides a straightforward and easy- RBRC is a nonprofit, public service organization that the cell phone discard rate above, how many TOTAL cell phones will be discarded by the end D. Recycle, donate, or trade in your old cell phone. to-read discussion of the technical components of a from recycled cell phones. 5. Electrodes 9. Rechargeable B. 300 recycles rechargeable batteries. by 2005? cell phone and the technology that makes it work. ± Contact your local waste management agency and ask what its policy is regarding discarded C. 390,000 tons: (750 million/125) x 65,000 3. Reused 7. Packaged A. 40 2. ±The Wireless Foundation B. ±Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) At the predicted 2005 rate of discarding cell phones, how many years will it take to discard cell phones. B. 6 years: (750 million / 125 million 2. Zinc 4. Resources (140 million/340,000) 750 million phones? B. Roughly 412 A. 425 million: 300 million + 125 million 2. Established by CTIA, this foundation is involved with 1. Copper 1. Circuit A trade association for the electronics industry, C. (140 million - 340,000)/18 3. After conducting this research, write a summary of your findings, including who you contacted, the Down Across several programs that use wireless communications 750 million discarded cell phones is equal to ___ tons of waste? A. 4 1 EIA maintains information on how member compa- A. Roughly 7,758,889: 1. to make communities safer, families more secure, Math Activity 2: Math Activity 1: Components Crossword: date, and what information you obtained. Or, present the results to your classmates and discuss what nies are incorporating environmental attributes into D. and teachers more effective. Can you name three alternatives to throwing out your cell phone? you view to be a good end-of-life choice for cell phones. electronic products. Answers Answers