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Get Outta' Here!!

Get Outta' Here
by Gary Woods

We buy a lotta' cell phones. About every 18 months the siren call from our wireless provider comes and we dutifully trot down and purchase the latest, greatest phone on the planet. So, what happens to all the old phones? Well recently a law was enacted that makes it illegal to toss cell phones in the trash, and requires retailers to offer recycling services to customers at no cost. California now requires that Cingular Wireless, Verizon Wireless, Costco Wholesale Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers have a plan in palace to recycle phones.

Civil penalties are pretty steep for this law with store owners or others who throw handsets into ordinary trash facing fines of as much as $25,000. Retailers that don't have a recycling plan or don't comply with the law could be barred from selling handsets.

One of the big players in the recycling marketplace is ReCellular, with about 53% of the pie. The company takes in about 15,000 cell phones a day at its plant in Dexter, Michigan. Of the 15,000 phones ReCellular takes in about 9,000 a day are fixed and cleaned up and get shipped back to be re-sold to customers who buy prepaid phone service. The rest go to 40 other countries, where a sales force gets the phones back into circulation.

Phones that are too damaged or out-of-date are sent to the recycling grinders, which remove silver, gold and any hazardous materials on the circuit boards.

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Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. You can hear Gary on the Radio at 1290 AM Monday 9-10 AM and he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc