Here's how you should recycle them.
Remember that old Nokia brick phone you had in high school that would put a dent in the floor if you dropped it? Apparently it's worth something. Most people tend to just throw their old cell phones into a drawer and forget about them because they're inconvenient to recycle and become obsolete quickly. Or worse, some people just throw theirs out. But their batteries remain usable.
Rather than just tossing your old phone in the trash, consider how you can use its battery instead. In developing regions where electricity is not easy to come by, that battery can power LED solar lamps. And don't just take my word for it -- Kyung Hee University in Seoul did an entire study on this and found that phone batteries tend to be thrown out after only two years of use, while most lithium-ion batteries can last five years or so. That battery may not mean anything to you, but to be able to power an LED solar lamp for someone who has no reliable access to electricity? That's a huge deal.
The researchers built a set-up to try and prove that this recycling suggestion works, and it did: one phone battery was able to power a .5 Watt solar lamp for six hours. With a little extra work and access to supplies, the researchers were even able to use three batteries and a solar panel to power a 5 Watt lamp that could work for five hours per day for roughly three years. Plus, we don't need to tell you how great solar power is as an alternative energy source.
So which would you rather do: throw a usable battery in the trash and forget about it while it hangs out in some landfill, or reuse a battery as part of a solar panel (and then properly dispose of it)? Yeah, thought so. Now who's going to make this happen?