This story originally appeared on LX.com
If you've got a cell phone then you've got the power to help save the planet... albeit in a small way. It may mean what type of phone you buy, how often you buy it, or how you discard it. Here are a few keys to keep in mind that could go a long, long way.
Buy Your Phone Used
One way to reduce your carbon footprint is by stopping the maddening cycle of buying a new phone every two years. That time may be even shorter for those who replace their current phone at the first sign of a scratch. Instead, repair the phone you have.
Buying a refurbished or previously used phone versus a brand new one creates 80% less waste. Even better, it could cost you up to 25% less than a new phone.
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Repair Your Existing Phone
We've all been there. You drop your phone and wind up with a crack. The immediate inclination is to toss it away and start fresh. But not so fast. There are organizations that are crowdsourcing user-generated repair manuals to empower everyday people to repair their own phones.
Recycle Your Phone
Yes, you can recycle your cell phone. But you'll have to do some due diligence, says Frank Calderon, of the Miami-Dade Dept. of Solid Waste Management.
"It is recyclable. But it's not recyclable at the curbside in the bin people place out on the street. You don't want to put it there," he said.
Instead, Calderon refers people to an organization named Call to Recycle, which has drop boxes at different retail outlets across the country. You drop your old phone off and you've done your small part to heal the planet.
You can buy eco-friendly phone cases and even environmentally friendly spray-on screen protectors. It doesn't sound like much, but every little bit helps.