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Just learned that Sprint and Samsung is launching the "Reclaim", "a phone made out of 80% recycleable materials". I was surprised though that it wasn't the first "eco-friendly" phone. Motorola was actually first with "Renew" for T-mobile.
Well, *sounds* impressive, but how much of the Reclaim is really WORTH recycling? In general, the best way to "recycle" a cellphone is to donate it to a cause like battered women's shelter, so they can call 911 where-ever they are. Recycling electronics is often just not worth the time or money. They are simply too small to get much useful material out of them. The outer plastic shell is certainly recycleable.
So how exactly is Reclaim eco-friendly? Let's see...
* Outer shell is "bio-plastic". What exactly does that mean? Actually only 40% is bioplastic made from corn.
Well, I guess it's better than 0%, but plastic is mostly recycleable already, aren't they? And why are we using corn for PHONES when there are still starving people in the world?
* The box and the "tray" inside the box is made out of 70% recycled paper/whatnot. The ink used is "soy-based".
BIG DEAL! I want to see PHONE recycled! The box already gets recycled any way!
* The paper manual was replaced with on-line virtual manual.
So the rest of us NOT online is ****ed?
* The charger is Energy-Star compliant, and has a visible warning to let user know to unplug once phone is fully charged.
You call that a FEATURE? Every single phone that I've seen already does that! And how many watts would a CELLPHONE need to charge?
* Comes with 5 tips to be eco-friendly at home, as well as dedicated "green web channel" on the phone for green news and tips. Plus donation to "adopt a forest program"
A measly $2 per phone? How much forest do I get with that? .
So, let me see if this translates properly... The "80% recycleable material" is pretty much ********. The are claiming credit for stuff that are already recycleable any way: the packaging. So the only thing really new is that "bio-plastic" shell derived from corn (only 40%), and that funky green color.
Frankly, if you want to save the environment, there are better ways to spend $50.