65,000 tons of cell phones is hard to imagine, but that is the amount of cellphones Americans dispose of each year. In an effort to keep some of them out of the landfill, the Maine legislature is considering a proposal to make it mandatory that all cellphones be recycled, reports the Bangor Daily News
If the legislation is passed the burden of accepting most of the old cellphones would be held by cellphone retailers, something that a few companies already have in place.
The retailers are participating in "Wireless — the New Recyclable" program, which collects cellphones at retail locations; some also provide collection through free shipping.
Also a company called ReCellular Inc. collects old cellphones, refurbishes them and reuses them in countries such as Bolivia, Jamaica, Kenya, Ukraine or Yemen
Cellphones, like computer monitors, contain toxic chemicals such as arsenic, lead, zinc and other substances that have been linked to health problems.
Maine is on the forefront of recycling other electronic waste. It was the first state to mandate that manufacturers be responsible for collecting and recycling obsolete computer monitors and televisions.