University of Idaho Sustainability Center Sponsors Cell Phone and Ink Cartridge Recycling on Campus

Monday, October 26 2009

Written by Fatou Sogoyou-Bekeyi

MOSCOW, Idaho - The University of Idaho Sustainability Center has placed collection boxes around campus to encourage recycling of old cell phones and empty ink cartridges.

The collected cell phones will be reused, refurbished, or smelted down for metal and plastic components to be made into new products. Empty ink cartridges will be refilled and reused.

Many cell phones and ink cartridges are currently land-filled due to lack of convenient collection sites around campus. Eric Howard, a sophomore studying wildlife management, said he would “probably throw (them) in my trash can” rather than recycle them “because I don’t know any place to go recycle them at.”

With 15 new collection sites, the UISC hopes to raise awareness about the importance of recycling these materials.

Each new ink cartridge requires one gallon of oil to manufacture, takes 450 years to decompose in a landfill, and leaks toxic chemicals into the ground and air. Similarly, cell phones that are land-filled leak lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic into the environment.

Redeeming these recyclable materials also will generate money for additional sustainability projects.

“This is a great program," said Darin Saul, director of the UISC. "By recycling your phones and ink cartridges you also provide a small amount of funding that is used to encourage students to further reduce the amount of waste they generate.”

Before recycling cell phones, verify that the account has been canceled with the service provider, and erase any personal information such as contact lists, text messages and incoming/outgoing numbers. Before recycling ink cartridges, make sure they are empty.

Green and white collection boxes are now available at the following campus locations:
• Main Library
• Information Technology Services (ITS) Help Desk
• Living Learning Center 24-Hour Help Desk
• Campus Commons
• College of Natural Resources
• College of Engineering
• Law School
• Student Recreation Center
• Student Union Building
• Theophilus Tower
• University Bookstore
• ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center
• Shoup Hall
• Wallace Residence Center mail room
• Morrill Hall

To learn more about this program, contact UISC Director Darin Saul at or Adria Mead at

People also may support UISC programs through the University of Idaho Foundation and the Sustainability Fund account:

As increasing environmental awareness drives interest in sustainable practices, the University of Idaho continues to seek carbon reduction initiatives to meet the current and future needs of society and to contribute to the quality of life and the natural resources in Idaho, the nation and the world. The University of Idaho emitted some 38,981 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in 2007, which is equal to 3.59 tons per student. The university has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 and has begun the work to reduce carbon emissions across operations. For more information about the university’s sustainability efforts, contact the University of Idaho Sustainability Center at or visit
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit