If you’ve recently replaced your cell phone, you’re not alone. More than half a billion cell phones were swapped for newer models in 2007, according to a study by the research firm Gartner. In the past, these phones might have been tossed in the garbage or just stashed in a drawer, but an increasing number of cell-phone vendors are promoting take-back programs, which make recycling an easier option for consumers. A discarded phone has a good chance of landing at ReCellular, the nation’s largest cell-phone recycling facility, which is based in Dexter, MI. If the phone’s in good shape, it’ll be refurbished. Otherwise, it will head to Sims Recycling Solutions, a smelter outside of Chicago.
Photographs by Roy Ritchie