Waste Not

You probably know that I’m,


somewhat less than


when it comes to


Techie-talk befogs me (wrong generation, I suppose),

but, my old-fashioned farmgirl radar recently recognized an electronic issue that warrants TUNING IN.


Photo by Mo Riza (GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0) via Wikimedia Commons

So, this is the problem:

  • Cell phones are generally “locked” to a single carrier company.
  • Until recently, it was legal to “unlock” your phone so that you could use it with another carrier.
  • Then, the Library of Congress made it illegal to unlock a phone via the Digital Millenium Copyright Act  (DMCA).

And, as a result:

  • Cell phones that are locked become useless once a specific carrier contract expires, creating loads of toxic landfill fodder.
  • 426,000 cell phones are decommissioned every single day in the U.S., destined for dumpsters.
  • More cell phones are constantly being manufactured to meet consumers’ ongoing demand for updated, useable phones. Behind the shiny plastics and pretty packaging is an industry rife with hazardous heavy metals, pit mining, water pollution, and warlords.

HERE is what you can do:

  • Urge our government officials to Free Our Phones and Fix the DMCA by supporting legislation that would legalize unlocking. We’re actually very close to our goal.

Unlocking will facilitate the re-use of phones that would otherwise be thrown away and stave off the manufacturing of millions of new phones.

Cellular with a conscience …


Photo by Ildar Sagdejev (GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Even a country girl can relate to that.


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Sometimes I think to myself, how did I get so attached to my phone? For years, such a thing never existed and life went just fine. But today, you have to have a phone to communicate across family and business lines. But, as you point out, there is a huge environmental cost to this convenience. How can that be worth the convenience? I don’t have any answers but we should all be asking the question and looking for solutions. thanks for bringing this topic forward!

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    I have a tracfone for traveling, but I have to renew a yearly thing to keep it activated. What a waste! I let my other tracfone time expire & I had to buy a new phone. Another waste. I love being able to contact my family as we all live far from each other. But I am definitely “not married” to my phone. That’s why I love living in the country. I love the peace that is in my own backyard! Thanks for bringing this more attention.

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