Believe it or not, cell phones actually have a larger environmental impact than most realize. Most think that just because of its small size, a cell phone is practically harmless. However, the energy used by cell phones, both to make and operate them, place a huge strain on our environment – especially since so many cell phones have heavy plastic components.

But owning a cell phone doesn’t mean that you have to simply accept the potential harm your phone could be doing to the environment. There are several easy steps you can take to reduce your phone’s environmental impact:

Recycle Your Phone

When you are done using your pre-existing cell phone, consider recycling it instead of just exchanging the phone. If your service provider donates old phones or resells them, allowing them to keep the phone is a good option too. However, if they will simply be throwing it away, check around town for a recycling center that will take it.

Purchase a Used or Refurbished Phone

When you decide to purchase a new phone, buy a used or refurbished phone instead of a brand new phone. Both regular and prepaid phones come with used or refurbished options. Both types of phones aren’t allowed to be sold unless they meet certain qualifications, so the product you are buying will be of high quality without putting further strain on resources.

Watch the Accessories

Most cell phone battery chargers are huge energy wasters. Like computer chargers, they continue to pull electricity from outlets even when not being used. To keep the carbon footprint of your phone low, purchase a charger that will only use energy when the phone is actually being charged. Doing so will not only help you be a little more green, but it will also help keep your energy bill low.

In today’s world, the need for a cell phone is undeniable. They help us organize our lives and keep in contact with those we love, and are just overall beneficial to our safety. However, you don’t have to negatively impact the environment to own one. Choosing one of the several green options available can reduce your carbon footprint while still offering the quality phone service you need.