Woohoo, got the new iPhone 3GS today! Though I am feeling a little down over parting with an old friend - a slightly malfunctioning first generation iPhone, purchased the day after Apple released it in 2007 and still operating off the quad-based GSM with EDGE network - I am happy to have an efficient and beautiful replacement. (Thank you, Chris!)
Now, what to do with the old iPhone? E-waste is a huge social and environmental problem that I don't want to be a part of. One of the other two cell phones I've owned - an old Nokia my dad used to have me keep in my glovebox "for emergencies only" during high school and a Samsung which served me until I purchased the original iPhone (about seven years) - was donated to charity. I don't know what the fate of that Nokia was. Truth is, there are many paths an old, unwanted mobile device could take. Most get stashed in a junk drawer, passed down to a friend or thrown into the trash. A thankfully increasing number are now being refurbished (then resold or donated) or recycled.
Once I've decided it's time to part with my old phone I will likely recycle it through the Apple Recycling Program. Since they are the ones who put it together they are probably most qualified to take it apart to extract what's valuable. The other option I'm considering is recycling through ReCellular's Phones for Haiti program in which 100% of the phone's recycled value will be donated as a contribution to the American Red Cross.
Learn about TheEcoBossProject and the 364 other commitments I'm making this year at TheEcoBoss.com.