Sprint's Reclaim: The green cellphone.

It's not the first time that cell phones have come up on this site, and I'm sure it won't be the last. With somewhere upwards of 100 million mobile phones being replaced every year, they're a huge contributor to waste in the world.

Not only do cell phones waste resources, but they incorporate toxic heavy metals and large quantities of plastics to do it. A double whammy! Cadmium, lead, mercury, fire retardant chemicals, and, of course, PVC plastic. Our good friend, toxic enemy #3.

With all of these threats against the environment, it's certainly good to see a phone popping up with an explicitly green message. The Samsung Reclaim, available from Sprint, isa significant improvement on the norm.

The phone claims to be 80% recyclable materials, with a casing which is 40% bioplastics -- and which has eliminated all PVC. According to Sprint, the charger is 12 times as efficient as Energy Star requirements. (Of course, we all know that Energy Star requirements are far from the strictest guidelines.)

On the plus side, in addition to the environmental features already mentioned, the phone is pretty reasonably priced and comes with a $2.00 donation to the Nature Conservancy. On the negative side, the phone has very small number buttons which serve double-purpose as party of the tiny QWERTY keyboard. With no dedicated number pad, this particular device's usefulness as a phone is a bit compromised.

As an environmental statement, it's a great first step. As a phone...well, we'll see. If you've got good eyes and small fingers, it's probably going to work for you.

Updated by Joe Dolson on 01 September, 2009

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Traveling by bicycle (or other self-powered vehicles) is an excellent way of combining a need for daily exercise with saving fossil fuels in your transport. What do you consider a reasonable bicycle commute? (One way.)

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