The cell phones had become fixtures of the coffee table drawer.
"Why don't you recycle those phones, Jon?" my friend asked as I opened the drawer and pushed the phones aside.
"I know there's a pen that works in here somewhere," I said.
"Are you listening to me?"
I was listening as best I could while looking for a pen and watching college basketball. But it wasn't until I re-read a saved e-mail about National Cell Phone Recycling Week from the EPA that I thought about her question -- What am I doing with all these cell phones?
There are two unused cell phones in the coffee table drawer and three more in a box under the bed.
Those are only five of the estimated 100 million retired cell phones in the United States. The EPA estimates that enough energy would be saved to power 18,500-plus homes for one year if phones were recycled.
The "Plug-In to eCycling" program recycled 47 million pounds of electronics in 2007. Most of that weight included computers, televisions and an 11-year-old old Dell computer monitor that had been taking up a corner of my closet.