Canadian youth seen as target audience for cellphone recycling programs

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TORONTO - Organizers of a cellphone recycling program are hoping that young Canadians' attachment to electronic devices will make them the ideal foot soldiers in the battle to get people to turn in their discarded mobiles for recycling.

For the third year, the Recycle My Cell program will launch a challenge for schools to collect as many old wireless devices as possible, including cellphones, wireless PDAs, pagers, accessories and cellphone batteries.

A spokesman for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, which is organizing the program, hopes educating young Canadians about reducing waste will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

"Young people certainly like their cellphones and they're always into the latest and greatest devices electronically," says Choma. "So we wanted to instill a message that owning any kind of a e-device comes with a responsibility."

"Ultimately there is absolutely no reason that any cellphone should be ending up in a landfill," he says.

Through the Recycle My Cell program, schools anywhere in Canada to compete to win a $500 prize for their school. The money can be used for environmental causes.

Last year more than 6,200 devices and accessories were collected.

Jo-Anne St. Godard, executive director of the Recycling Council of Ontario, says young people are a key demographic for recycling programs.

"Younger generations have a great awareness of environmental initiatives, and they will quite readily be willing to do their part as long as we give them the opportunity," she said.

The biggest hurdle is the vast flood of information about recycling that tends to be confusing for the public, she said.

"Adolescents in bigger urban centres can be frustrated by the sheer volume of information coming at them from bunch of sources that may not be consistent," she said.

Recycle My Cell's school challenge will begin Oct. 15th and finish on Nov. 15th.

Organizations: Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, Recycling Council of Ontario

Geographic location: TORONTO, Canada

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