Cell phones are almost the biggest contributor to the world’s growing e-waste problem.

The average American gets a new cell phone every 18 to 24 months. Many of these old phones contain lead, mercury, cadmium, brominated flame retardants and arsenic. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans discard 125 million phones each year, creating 65,000 tons of waste.

There is hope, however, to keep this hazardous waste out of the local landfill. There are several programs out there that refurbish/reuse old cell phones. Most cell phone parts are also completely recyclable.

Here are some local companies and programs to safely get rid of your old cell phone:

ACTION OHIO You can donate your old cell phones to and help us raise funds to serve domestic violence victims, survivors, victims' families and the professionals who serve them through ACTION OHIO Coalition For Battered Women. Call (614) 825-0551 for details.

Ohio Computer Recycling Ohio Computer Recycling is a service that helps people dispose of their electronic equipment properly for little or no cost. They accept all types of cell phones for recycling for free at several locations throughout Columbus. Go to http://ohiodropoff.com/ for more information.

SWACO You can recycle your old cell phones through SWACO by using their Smart Recycle service. Go to http://www.smartrecycle.com/ to find out more.