High-tech gifts are hot items on many wish lists this holiday season. From kids to grandparents, and everyone in between, the latest cell phones, digital cameras and MP3 players are among the favorites to give and receive. But once you have the latest new tech toys, what happens to the old gear?

Before you toss last year’s cell phone or old digital camera away in a drawer to make room for new gadgets, do something positive for the environment and answer the Call2Recycle(R) by properly disposing of used rechargeable batteries!

Most of the portable electronic devices purchased during the holidays – such as cell phones, PDAs, Blackberrys, digital cameras, laptop computers and mp3 players – are powered by rechargeable batteries. Though rechargeable batteries are a long-lasting and reusable power source, they will eventually begin to lose their charge after approximately 1,000 charges. When replacing a device with rechargeable batteries, instead of tossing the old ones in the trash or hoarding an electronics stash in a storage closet or junk drawer, recycle them at participating Call2Recycle retailers across the country.

The largest nationwide rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling program, Call2Recycle has collection locations at your favorite major national retailers like Best Buy, Circuit City, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, RadioShack and Target. Operated by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a nonprofit, public service organization dedicated to recycling used rechargeable batteries, the Call2Recycle program is a simple and free way for consumers to upgrade their technology in an environmentally responsible way this holiday season.

Consumers can also use their shopping trips to make the holidays a little “greener,” just by bringing their used rechargeable batteries and old cell phones with them to participating area retailers. Look for the Call2Recycle collection boxes conveniently located in stores and recycle your way to a “greener” holiday spirit.

Along with your gift, share these simple tips with friends and family to help them maximize the life of their new gadgets:

* Follow the charging guidelines provided by the manufacturer, as each individual product has a specific initial battery charging time.

* Never return a fully charged battery to the charger for an extra boost, as this will only shorten the life of the battery.

* Let a discharged battery cool to room temperature before recharging.

* Recharge batteries only when they are near to fully discharged.

Keep the environment in mind this gift-giving season, and remember to recycle your used rechargeable batteries. Visit www.call2recycle.org or call toll-free 877-2-RECYCLE to find drop-off locations near you. (MS)

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