It's OK to Use the Free Stuff You Get in Junk Mail

Written by Mark Jeantheau

According to several pieces of junk mailrepparttar Grinning Planet offices have received this year, we can get 37 CDs for just a penny! Fine, as long as we don't have to listen torepparttar 110121 complimentary copy of "Megadeth Plays Liberace."

We're really here today to talk about some ofrepparttar 110122 stuff you get inrepparttar 110123 mail that may actually be usable. Most of us have received all sorts of supposedly usable stuff in junk mail--free return-address labels, blank greeting cards, calendars, even reeeaaaally flat sponges. Well, we may be very pleased to find out that some junk-mailer considers us "sponge-worthy," butrepparttar 110124 larger question is, should we use this stuff even if we don't send a contribution to "Saverepparttar 110125 Down-Sized Rich People" or whatever group sent it to us?

Considerrepparttar 110126 case ofrepparttar 110127 free return-address labels. The organization sent them to you hoping that you would send them a donation. If you're not inclined to donate, it is NOT unethical for you to userepparttar 110128 labels. From an ecological perspective, whether you sendrepparttar 110129 organization money or not is irrelevant. The labels have already been manufactured, packaged, and mailed--those financial costs and resource costs have already been incurred. If you can make use ofrepparttar 110130 free labels instead of throwing them out and buying similar replacement items, then it's a "win" for resource utilization andrepparttar 110131 environment. The group that sent yourepparttar 110132 labels isn't any worse off than if you'd just thrownrepparttar 110133 labels out. The same logic applies to ALL ofrepparttar 110134 free goodies you get inrepparttar 110135 mail.

How to Dial Up a Recycling Solution for Your Cell Phone

Written by Mark Jeantheau

Would you care to offer an opinion on what a person should do with his obsolete cell phone? Now, now... We don't want to hear about what you thought that guy who was talking on his cell phone duringrepparttar movie should do with it... The bad manners of a few people aside, cell phones do pose a significant waste disposal problem for society.

INFORM, an environmental research organization partly funded byrepparttar 110120 EPA, has estimated that cell phones are typically used only for about 18 months before being replaced. Calling plans are often packaged with free or low-cost cell phones, which often makes keeping your current phone economically disadvantageous. Thus, many cell phones face their demise before they have become technologically obsolete, andrepparttar 110121 waste stream gets not onlyrepparttar 110122 cell phones that are truly unusable, but also those that are simply no longerrepparttar 110123 best deal forrepparttar 110124 owner.

As of 2001 (the last year figures were available), there were 129 million cell phone users inrepparttar 110125 US, with 400 million users worldwide. Inrepparttar 110126 coming years, as population and market penetration for cell phones both increase,repparttar 110127 number of cell phones destined forrepparttar 110128 waste stream will continue rising. With such a short average lifespan for each cell phone, it's easy to perceiverepparttar 110129 magnitude ofrepparttar 110130 cell phone disposal problem. INFORM estimates that by 2005, nearly 130 million cell phones will be discarded every year inrepparttar 110131 United States.

How does this affectrepparttar 110132 environment? In addition torepparttar 110133 volume of landfill space that cell phones could take up, they also contain toxic chemicals such as: - arsenic (used in some semiconductors) - brominated compounds (used as flame retardants) - lead (used inrepparttar 110134 solder that attaches components to circuit boards)

These and other cell-phone toxins enterrepparttar 110135 environment when discarded cell phones are incinerated or when rainwater leachesrepparttar 110136 materials out of landfilled phones. Many ofrepparttar 110137 toxic compounds in cell phones are found onrepparttar 110138 EPA's list of "persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals." EPA warns that these substances can cause a range of adverse human health effects, including damage torepparttar 110139 nervous system, reproductive and developmental problems, and cancer. Eek! Call a doctor!

So, what is a highly mobile, well connected cell-phone lover to do with a phone they no longer need?

Well, if you could go back in time, you could reconsiderrepparttar 110140 waste issue when evaluating your current cellular-service package. True, you can't do that; but here inrepparttar 110141 present, you can includerepparttar 110142 disposal issue when considering whether or not to renew your current plan or go with a one. If your phone still works fine, choosing a plan that allows you to keep it isrepparttar 110143 best option from an environmental standpoint. If you do decide you want a new phone, you can still takerepparttar 110144 waste issue into account to avoid finding yourself inrepparttar 110145 same situation a year later. Don't accept a plan whererepparttar 110146 economically intelligent thing to do again will be to throw away a perfectly functioning phone.

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