Recycle Your Old Cell Phone to Help the Earth


Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Conservation | Posted on 09-10-2015

Cell phones and smartphones are an increasingly necessary part of everyday living. Their use has exploded in the last decade, with the United Nations recently noting that 6 billion people own them, and that by 2014 the number of cellphones will exceed the world’s population.

Why So Many Cell Phones?

Most cell phone manufacturers roll out a new model of their flagship product every year or two. This practice increases demand and desire for the latest phone with the best and latest features and upgrades. With so many people discarding perfectly usable telephones on a virtually annual basis, one can well envision a global landfill problem!

How Big Is the Disposal Problem?

Cell phones contain a large number of non-biodegradable materials, such as heavy metals, glass and plastic. Many of the heavy metals in the processor and battery are toxic to the environment and human health. Among the metals are arsenic, antimony, copper, cadmium, beryllium and lead, all of which need to be handled carefully. Multiply the trace amounts of these metals by six billion, and the size of the disposal problem comes into focus.

Environmental Concerns

Manufacturing cell phones by the billions may be good for shareholders but it’s bad for the environment. All manufacturing processes have a carbon footprint and cell phones are no exception. The sheer number of cell phones being manufactured increases the scope and size of mining operations in multiple countries, many of which are located in or near endangered wildlife habitats. For example, cell phones contain a mineral called coltan, which is mined in Africa in gorilla habitats.

Why Recycle?

Most of the world is well aware of the benefits of recycling everything from paper and plastic to metal and glass. While it’s true that recycling has a carbon footprint of its own, it is much smaller than that of manufacturing. At the same time, recycling reduces the need for more mining and more factories by keeping older cell phones either in operation or through extracting already mined materials and using them to make new phones.

Methods of Recycling

In the U.S., there are many certified recyclers that handle cell phones under strict environmental guidelines and regulations. Some recyclers have partnerships with nonprofit institutions and organizations. For example, the University of Cincinnati has a partnership with the Cincinnati Zoo and a recycler. Proceeds from the recycling of cell phones go in part to fund the zoo’s field conservation efforts.

Another method of recycling involves reuse of the cell phones. Some organizations are set up to donate used phones to underserved communities, or to stockpile them for use during emergencies like floods and hurricanes.

A Final Word on Conservation

Recycling is always a choice. When a product is no longer usable, it’s natural to discard it, especially in cultures where access to new products is easy and inexpensive, but one day, the tipping point will arrive and there will be more cell phones than people on the planet. This degree of growth is unprecedented in human history, and it is unsustainable. Recycling helps alleviate the damage caused by this explosive growth, keeping cell phones operating throughout their entire life cycle, then taking them apart for reuse. In every way, recycling cell phones makes sense.


Jay Bradford is a freelance tech writer focusing on cell phones, gadgetry, computers, futuristic technology and other topics; S4 owners should take a peek at the S4 insurance brand

Basics of Water Treatment


Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Conservation, Earth Sciences & Geology | Posted on 09-10-2015

When you take a sip of cool water on a hot day, you may not often think about how it got to your tap. But the process is surprisingly complicated and undeniably important to your health. Drinking water goes through many potential hazards on its journey from the source to the treatment plant. Different technologies, however, ensure safe passage of the treated water from the plant to your home.

Water Hazards and Characteristics

Septic tanks, fertilizers, industrial chemicals, naturally present minerals, mine drainage and metals like chromium and arsenic can contaminate groundwater. Mountain springs can pass through environments containing zinc, sulfur or arsenic. Storm drains can contain dirty runoff from cities, which pollutes streams and rivers. The streams and rivers may themselves be active carriers of microorganisms, which can pose health hazards.

Drinking water supplies in the United States are heavily regulated. Private and public water suppliers who run treatment plants have several technologies at their disposal to control the characteristics of water, namely acidity, hardness, alkalinity, turbidity, color, odor, and taste, as well as its organic chemical and biological features. Small water supply agencies avail the services of commercial laboratories to test the water, while larger companies have their own labs.

Water Treatment Processes

Water treatment at different plants commonly follows these steps to treat surface water and make it ideal for drinking:

1. Flocculation and Coagulation: The first step of water treatment involves flocculation and coagulation. Positively charged chemicals are mixed into the water. The negative charge of contaminants, dirt and other particles dissolved in water are neutralized by the positive charge of such chemicals. This action causes the particles to attach to the chemicals, thereby becoming matter known as a flocculent mass (“floc”).

2. Sedimentation: Water is then allowed to stand still as the heavier floc descends to the bottom of the tank and settles there. This process is referred to as sedimentation.

3. Filtration: After the floc has completely settled at bottom of the tank, the clear water that remains at the upper levels are filtered. It is passed through filter systems comprised of gravel, sand and charcoal of varying pore sizes and compositions. Small matter like parasites, dust, viruses, bacteria and chemicals that remain in water post-sedimentation are removed during the filtration process.

4. Disinfection: Disinfectants like chloramine or chlorine are added to the water after filtration to destroy remaining bacteria, parasites and viruses. Water suppliers may also use additional disinfection methods such as fluoridation. Water fluoridation effectively and safely prevents tooth decay.

5. Storage: The treated water is then kept in a reservoir or a closed tank to allow for complete disinfection. It is then sent via clean, regulated pipes to businesses and homes in the community.

It is important to note that water treatments can occur in different ways in varied communities and is primarily dependent on the quality of water initially available at the treatment plant. Surface water usually has more contamination than ground water, as it is more susceptible to pollutants and sediments. You may also use technologies to treat your tap water and further decrease the risk of disease.


This piece was composed by Travis Filbert, a freelance writer who focuses on energy conservation, alternative fuel, Water Treatment Chemicals, eco-conscious living, natural resources, solar power and other related matters.

Don’t Become a Hoarder


Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Green Living, Health And Fitness | Posted on 08-10-2015

A home cluttered with obsolete or rarely used items will take up space in your home which can be used to incorporate other items into the home, such as a new couch or reclining chair. A cluttered home can also lead to the loss of valuable items that can become lost or damaged among the clutter. Below are some advantages to putting excess items into storage in order to clear space in the home.

Self-Storage Facilities

There are several businesses which offer self-storage options that can be hired on a monthly basis. Such companies provide a storage unit along with security facilities where customers can safely store all unused household items. The storage facility can be rented on a long-term or short term basis.

Guaranteed Security

Many self-storage companies offer assured security for all your additional personal items. They may or may not be valuable items, but the companies consider them to be very important and go to great lengths in order to ensure their safety. Customers are given the option to use their own locks. Door alarms for each storage unit, security cameras, flood lighting, personal pin numbers, and electric gates or doors are just some of the additional security options that are available at the self-storage houses.

You will also be happy to know that these systems of safeguard are available throughout the year, 24/7. You can thus stop hoarding at your home and deposit the excess household items or furniture at the self-storage units without worrying about their safety.

Available in Various Sizes

Self-storage facilities are available in numerous sizes that can cater to every kind of need. You do not need to worry about the size of your personal items. All you need to consider is the number of items that need to be stored, the ideal size of the self-storage unit, and the cost involved.

Clean and Organized

The vast majority of self-storage units are very clean and have regular programs for pest control. This ensures additional safety of your personal items and prevents damage from pests and environmental factors. Most self-storage facilities also provide protection from many kinds of water damage. Clients can visit the storage facilities at any time of the day or night, thereby making it a very convenient option.

If you want to stop hoarding and wish to get rid of the excess clutter in your house, but only on a temporary basis, so as to clear up space in your home, you can use the efficient services of self-storage companies. Your belongings will be safe and in good care. You may store a variety of personal items such as shoes, clothes, important documents, valuable artwork, and much more!

Cleaning Up the House

Home owners can also remove the clutter from their homes by keeping a list of all the items that makeup the clutter. Verify items that can be sold off, donated, or thrown away, and those that need to be kept at self-storage units. This way, you do not have to rent a big storage unit for your excess personal belongings.


Ralph Bennett frequently writes on home maintenance, green renovation, eco-conscious living, environmental protection and other kindred topics. Ralph understands the value in keeping a clean home; homeowners with extra stuff should find self storage to manage to help reduce clutter.