On average, Americans upgrade their cell phones every 18 to 24 months. Consequently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates there are one billion retired cell phones accumulated in US households. Because cell phones contain hazardous materials in their batteries, some states have made it illegal to dispose of cell phone batteries in the trash. So what should you do with your retired cell phones?

The Cell Phone Recycling Fundraiser run by the Project Graduation Committee of the Governor Livingston High School PTO offers the solution. By donating your retired cell phones to Project Graduation, you’re disposing of your unwanted cell phones responsibly while helping Project Graduation raise funds. Working with a recycler, Project Graduation earns funds for every collected cell phone, regardless of age or condition. At the recycler, the phones are recycled through reuse and refining programs. If the phone has resale value, it is refurbished for reuse. Otherwise the phone is processed through an environmentally responsible refining program which reclaims various metals back to their natural state. Just a ton of used cell phones (6,000 phones) yields over $15,000 in precious metals including gold, palladium, copper and silver. The remainder after refining is recycled under a zero-landfill policy according to EPA regulations. Although the memory on donated phones is erased by the recycler during processing, anyone with concerns about personal data should clear the phone’s memory before recycling.

In order to make the Cell Phone Recycling Fundraiser a success, Project Graduation is seeking the participation of the community.  Please gather all unwanted or broken cell phones and bring them to the nearest collection bin for donation to Project Graduation. Collection bins are located at the Berkeley Heights Public Library, the Mountainside Public Library and at the Wireless Zone stores in New Providence (1300 Springfield Ave) and Gillette (977 Valley Rd). 

Project Graduation is an all-night, substance-free celebration for the Governor Livingston High School senior class on the night of graduation. A tradition at GL since 1989, this annual event is entirely financed by donations from the community and local businesses, contributions from parents and fundraisers like the Cell Phone Recycling Fundraiser.  If you have any questions regarding the Cell Phone Recycling Fundraiser or Project Graduation, please email GLProjectGraduation@gmail.com.