Cell Phone & Consumer Electronics Frequently Asked Questions

Does EcoPhones accept toner cartridges?

No. EcoPhones only accepts ink jet printer cartridge. The vast majority of toner cartridges have little or no economic value, they are extremely messy to handle and bulky to ship. We suggest you find a local facility to recycle your laser toner cartridges.

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Is it true that EcoPhones pays for EVERY item no matter what?

Yes, EcoPhones pays for EVERY item (in the categories listed on our price list) no matter what - regardless of whether or not the item(s) work and regardless of whether or not the item's model number is listed on our price list.

  • Cell Phones
  • Ink Jet Printer Cartridges
  • iPads & Tablets
  • iPods
  • Jewelry

That is, you earn cash for every cell phone, ink jet cartridge, iPad or Tablet, iPod or piece of jewelry you collect including broken items or items not on our list. Prices on our list reflect working items only. Working electronics are electronics that, when tested by Recycling Fundraiser, power up, possess an undamaged LCD screen, make a test call (if applicable), have working internal components including the charge port and are not cracked or otherwise damaged. Non-Working items that appear on our price list will be credited 20% of the corresponding working price. Newer working and non-working electronics not included on our price list will be credited at competitive prices. There is no price deduction for broken jewelry.

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How do I tell the difference between an ink jet cartridge and a toner cartridge?

Ink jet cartridges are compact and will fit in the palm of your hand. Toner cartridges are large and bulky, usually about the size of a loaf of bread. If it fits in the palm of your hand it is an ink jet cartridge.

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Do we need to recharge the batteries before shipping the items?

EcoPhones keeps charged batteries (for virtually every model) set aside specifically for testing purposes. There is no need for your organization to test any electronics and no need to charge any batteries. Upon processing your shipment, EcoPhones will email your organization a detailed copy of the inspection, testing and processing report along with the total amount payable to your organization.

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What happens to any information stored in the cell phones?

All of the items were receive are processed and recycled in accordance with the R2 Standard for Responsible Recycling. Many of the cell phones we receive are destroyed and recycled according to EPA guidelines. This process effectively destroys all information stored in the cell phones. In the event a cell phone is refurbished or resold for reuse each phone is data cleared in accordance with NIST Special Publication 800-88 "Guidelines for Media Sanitization" by our trained team of technicianed and data clearing is verified by someone in our quality control department. Our data clearing process wipes the phone's memory clean and enables a new number to be assigned. However, EcoPhones strongly recommends that donors clear the memories on their cell phones of any sensitive private information before donating them. In addition, donors should always ensure the service on any cell phone they donate has been disconnected, to prevent fraudulent use. EcoPhones will not be responsible for any information left stored in the memories of phones donated or their fraudulent use.

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Do you accept accessories such as batteries and chargers, etc.?

As cell phone batteries account for the majority of harmful substances related to cellular phone waste, EcoPhones encourages you to include phone batteries in your shipments. We would prefer not to receive all other accessories such as chargers, cases, ear microphones, etc. and we will charge back the shipping costs ($20) related to boxes that primarily contain accessories. We realize that individuals often donate the accessories with the phone and it is a well-intended gesture. Unfortunately, these accessories are often heavy / bulky and very expensive to ship. Our program cannot support the shipping and recycling costs of these items, which is why they are excluded from the program. Please recycle these items locally and responsibly.

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Why are cell phones and consumer electronics so harmful to the environment?

The production of electronics such as cell phones, iPads and Tablets, iPods and ink jet cartridges are all dependent on one or more rare metals such as platinum, palladium, rhodium and even gold! The mining of metals for consumer electronics and jewelry is the #1 cause of toxic pollution in the United States. The average U.S. gold mine uses 3.520.000 pounds of cyanide per year.

According to INFORM, Inc., Inc., an independent environmental research organization, the improper disposal of electronics poses a serious threat to the environment. For example, did you know that cell phones contain toxic substances including Arsenic, Antimony, Beryllium, Cadmium, Copper, Lead, Nickel and Zinc. (NOTE: The cadmium from a single phone is capable of polluting 158,200 gallons of water or the equivalent of 1.2 million 16-ounce coffees.) These toxic substances either leach into soil and groundwater from landfills or form highly toxic dioxins & furans during incineration associated with certain types of cancer and a range of reproductive, neurological and developmental disorders especially in children. In addition, approximately 300 million ink jet printer cartridges are thrown away each year! The production of a single ink jet cartridge requires 2 and 1/2 ounces of oil. That's more than 6 million gallons of oil wasted each year.

For more information and facts about the problems posed by the improper disposal of e-waste please download our Consumer Electronics Recycling Fact Sheet available in our Resource Center.

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