CELL PHONE USE IN MOTOR VEHICLE CRASHES WISCONSIN STATE PATROL
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,
truck, or rail all require the use of fossil fuels
for energy, which can contribute to global
±Keeping your phone longer. Choose
ou have one, your parents have one, your
M at e r ial s
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
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
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
are in use worldwide.
them. You can help minimize your environ-
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.
which are usually not interchangeable from
company to company. Even though regulations
now allow consumers to transfer their phone
Materials Extraction Materials Processing
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
—Crude oil is combined with natural gas and or groups can work together to collect used cell
18 months before being
± The circuit board (also called a printed chemicals in a processing plant to make phones for shipment to electronics recyclers.
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
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-
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,
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”
±Circuit board/printed wiring board
(using less materials) as shown by the decreasing size of today’s cell
±Liquid crystal display (LCD)
phones. Years ago, the technology needed for a cell phone would
±Accessories (such as adapters, headsets,
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!