According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over 125 million cell phones are thrown away each year, which amounts to about 65,000 tons of waste. Despite the numerous electronics reclamation and recycling programs, consumers still tend to dump their old phones into a rubbish bin rather than take them to a phone recycling center. Why? Because consumers are inherently lazy. One solution is to have manufacturers reclaim and recycle their old phones. But how to do this with the least amount of work for the consumer? What if consumers could drop their old phones into a mailbox as easily as they drop them into a garbage can? If a self-adhesive, prepaid return mailing label with the address of the manufacturer is included within the phone itself - not in the box, not on an internet site that the user has to find and then print out - then the consumer simply has to stick it to the phone and drop it in a mailbox. It's as easy as throwing it away.
New cell phones will include a small (battery-sized) mailing label lightly affixed to the backside of the battery cover. The self-adhesive mailing label will contain the address of the recycling center the manufacturer uses plus prepaid postage. When the user is finished with the cell phone, he or she simply retrieves the mailing label from the back of the phone, peels it from its non-stick backing, and affixes it to the phone. The phone is then dropped off into a mailbox and sent to the recycling center. No need to wait for an electronics recycling day. No need to haul it to a recycling center. Just mail it off and go.