Cell Phone Recycling Drop-Boxes a Golden Opportunity

Cell Phone Recycle BoxCell Phone Recycle Box There's gold in them thar cells! Japanese telecom giant NTT recovered 320 pounds of pure gold from junked cell phones in 2005 and hopes that making recycling easier will increase the glittering haul. To help make it happen, an innovative pilot project sponsored by NTT Docomo and am/pm Japan is putting 8 theft-proof cell phone recycling bins into Tokyo convenience stores. If the bright blue boxes are successful in accumulating unwanted cell phones, you can expect that number to grow. What's so great about old cell phones? On the outside, not much, but it's their shiny innards that have attracted the eyes of industry types who have crunched the numbers and like what they see.

Each year, millions upon millions of obsolete cell phones flow into landfills, there to release toxic compounds and poisonous heavy metals into the environment. Now private industry partner, albeit with the profit motive in mind, is eager to scavenge the old phones before they're planted six feet under.


Obsolete Cell PhonesObsolete Cell Phones

Gold isn't the only thing of value inside cell phones by the way; NTT also harvested an amazing 42 tons of copper in 2005 - and with base metal prices hovering at near-record highs in 2007, recycling has become a very attractive new income vector. Although Japan's telecom companies have offered drop boxes for unwanted cells at their stores for years, the more user-friendly blue bins in convenience stores provide consumers with a chance to ditch their old phones without being mugged by opportunistic phone salesmen. (via Japundit and eBizTutors )

Steve Levenstein
Japanese Innovations Writer