Zeynep Demir / Shutterstock.com Cell Phones Alternative ways to recycle Illegal in Garbage & Drains Recycle With E-Waste Zeynep Demir / Shutterstock.com Take your used or unwanted cell phone to any City or County public library. The Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries accepts used cell phones. Phones are recycled or refurbished and funds raised will benefit our libraries. Never Throw in the Trash Cell phones contain toxic metals that can harm the environment, as well as precious metals, silicone, glass and plastic that can be reused. Phones are a major source of e-waste, so don’t throw them in the trash. Alternative Ways to Recycle Best Buy's Electronics and Appliances Recycling Program Best Buy will take back cell phones and many other home electronics for free; they also offer a buyback program for more desired electronics. They accept up to three items per day from each household. Find a location here. Staples' Take Back Program Staples offers free, in-store recycling for unwanted electronics, including cell phones, desktop computers, tablets, monitors and other electronics. Locate your nearest Staples. Gazelle Trade-In Program Gazelle purchases used Apple computers, iPods, cell phones and tablets, then refurbishes or recycles them for future use. Get a quote for your item, ship it free of charge and receive payment as soon as they’ve inspected it. Find out more. HP Hardware Recycling HP accepts cell phone and electronics hardware from various manufacturers for free mail-in recycling. Request a mail-back label here. Apple Store Gift Card Apple runs a reuse and recycling program for unwanted iPhones, iPads, Mac or PC computers and displays. Depending on the condition of your electronics, Apple can give you credit if they have monetary value. Find out more. LG Recycling Program Ship your LG phone to be recycled with a free, prepaid shipping label. Find out more. Samsung Mobile Take-Back Program Send any model of Samsung mobile device, along with any accessories, to be recycled at no cost. Simply print out a pre-paid shipping label. Find out more. Microsoft Trade-In and Recycling Program Visit any Microsoft store location to trade in old devices, game consoles or games for Microsoft store credit. If your items no longer carry substantial value, they will be wiped of data and safely recycled. If you aren’t near a store location, you can request a prepaid postage label to mail in your items. Donate for Global Public Health Hope Phones takes any phone, working or not, and provides free shipping. The funds they receive from recycling or selling phones go towards purchasing technology for global public health workers with the non-profit Medic Mobile. Find out more. Donate for Domestic Violence Survivors Ship any working phone or phone accessory free of charge to Verizon’s HopeLine program, which gives them to survivors of domestic violence. Recipients of refurbished phones also get free calls and texting. Find out more. Donate to a Soldier Cell Phones for Soldiers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing cost-free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. They have both donation and buyback programs. Find out more. InterConnection Charitable Reuse & Recycling Donate smartphones and laptops less than 7 years old to InterConnection’s Charitable Computer Reuse and Recycling program. Smartphones cannot have a broken screen, and laptops must be able to turn on. Hard drives will be wiped as soon as items are received. Download a free shipping label here. Ways to Reuse Repurpose your Smartphone There are a lot of applications to give your phone a new life. An old smartphone can be used as a flash drive, a mobile mouse/trackpad or a baby monitor. Find lots of other creative uses at infotech101.com or makeuseof.com. Did You Know? The Problem of E-Waste E-waste is a dangerous business in India and China, where e-waste recycling plants release toxic chemicals into the air and cause health problems for recycling workers. To learn more about e-waste, check out The Story of Stuff Project. Smartphone Metals Irreplaceable Researchers at Yale University analyzed all 62 metals used in smartphones and other contemporary consumer electronics, expecting to find at least a few that had potential material substitutes. However, none of the metals analyzed have a substitute for all functions, and 12 have no possible replacement at all. Read more at Yale News.