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Pacific Beach company recycles cellphones for charities

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Only 8 to 12 percent of cellphones sold in the United States are reused or recycled. A large number of them, about 135 million, are sitting in landfills and polluting the Earth because they were not disposed of correctly. Discarded cellphones are a major contributor of toxic pollution in the United States. The majority, about 500 million, are shoved in the back of drawers, boxes and closets.

Each year, Americans dump phones containing more than $60 million in gold and silver. Now imagine if we could take some of that money and give it to nonprofits that are doing social good -- and help save the environment?

SecondWave Recycling is a progressive, socially responsible and family-owned recycling business. It motivates people to clean out those drawers and turn in old cellphones to help charities here in San Diego and across the United States.

The Pacific Beach-based business was created by a trio of siblings. The company partners with nonprofits to support their fundraising efforts through recycling cellphones. All donated phones are either recycled for their parts or refurbished, with proceeds going back to organizations such as USO San Diego, the Surfrider Foundation, Rady Children's Hospital and the Living Coast Discovery Center.

12 reasons to recycle your cellphone

1. The mining of metals for cell phones and other electronics is the No. 1 cause of toxic pollution in the United States.

2. Gorillas and other African species in the Republic of Congo are increasingly threatened by mining for coltan, an element used to make cellphone batteries.

3. Refurbished cellphones provide modern communication to individuals who would otherwise find it unaffordable.

4. One million cellphones contain 33 pounds of palladium, 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver and 35,274 pounds of copper. These resources can be recovered and used to make new cellphones.

5. Cellphones contain toxic materials such as arsenic, antimony, beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel and zinc. If these materials are not properly disposed of, they can contaminate air, soil and groundwater.

6. Many of the hazardous substances found in cellphones form toxins during incineration, which may cause cancer and a range of reproductive, neurological and developmental disorders.

7. The cadmium from a single cell phone is capable of polluting 158,200 gallons of water -- that’s 2.4 million 8-ounce sodas.

8. Nearly all of the materials found in cellphones can be recycled to make new products.

9. If we recycled every cellphone discarded in the United States annually, we would save enough energy to power more than 24,000 homes for a year.

10. Recycling just one cellphone saves enough energy to power a laptop for 44 hours.

11. More than 100 million cellphones are stockpiled in American households creating 50,000 tons of potentially hazardous waste.

12. If you donate your cellphone with SecondWave Recycling, not only will you be saving the world, but you will also help benefit your charity of choice.

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