Cell Phones For Soldiers: Recycle Phones To Give Calling Cards To Troops

The Upper Eastern Shore Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and the Midshore Regional Recycling Program, on behalf of Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties, have partnered to gather for recycling used and discarded cell phones. The program called Cell Phones for Soldiers recycles discarded cell phones using the proceeds to purchase calling cards for service members to call home from Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by Massachusetts teenagers, Robbie and Brittney Bergquist, after learning of a massive phone bill run-up by a local soldier calling home from Iraq.  Since then, Cell Phones for Soldiers, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has distributed millions of prepaid calling cards to servicemen and women serving overseas.  It has gathered support from corporations and organizations such as AT&T, the Miami Dolphins, Bass Pro Shops, Dale Earnhardt Jr., the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Wells Fargo and MOAA.

Cell phones will be collected at the Midshore Region’s Fall Electronics Recycling & Household Hazardous Waste Collection event, at Caroline County Public Works in Denton, Saturday, November 5, 8 AM to 2 PM.  “Captain George Evans from Talbot County approached us a few years ago about this worthwhile program to recycle cell phones that then generate calling cards for our troops.  Last spring we also worked with Admiral Pete Dillingham from Kent County at an Earth Day and our Spring “eCycle” event.  Speaking for the four Midshore Counties I serve, we are proud to continue and expand our partnership to collect phones for the Cell Phones for Soldiers campaign”, said James Wood with the Midshore Regional Recycling Program.  Phones are also accepted at the Public Works offices in Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties.

Talbot County Public Schools recently implemented a collection of used cell phones through the Upper Eastern Shore Chapter of MOAA at Talbot’s nine public schools.  Some classes are collecting discarded cell phones as a public service school project.

“On behalf of Talbot County, I am pleased to announce that a Cell Phone for Soldier’s drop-off bin is now also located at the Talbot County Homeowner Drop-Off at 7341 Barkers Landing Road, Easton.  The hours are Monday to Friday from 8 to 12 and Saturday 8 to 4”, said Derick Brummell with Talbot County.

“Americans will replace an estimated 150 million cell phones this year,” says Mike Newman, Vice President of ReCellular, “with the majority of phones either discarded or stuffed in a drawer. Most people don’t realize that the small sacrifice of donating their unwanted phones can have a tremendous benefit for a worthy cause like Cell Phones for Soldiers.”

The EPA estimates 100 to 130 million cell phones are unused in drawers and cabinets or discarded.  In the United States phones are usually cast aside after 12 months.  Recycling cell phones keeps valuable materials out of landfills, incinerators and conserves natural resources while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  According to the EPA recycling 100 million cell phones could save enough energy to power 194,000 US homes for a year.  The EPA has targeted cell phones for recycling estimating that fewer than 20% are recycled each year because their owners aren’t sure what to do with them.  Cell phones contain important metals.  Through Cell Phones for Soldiers phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and recycled to reclaim materials, including:
•    Gold, silver and platinum from circuit boards
•    Copper wiring from phone chargers
•    Nickel, iron, cadmium and lead from battery packs
•    Plastic from phone cases and accessories

Each donated cell phone generates 60 to 100 minutes of phone time for a deployed service member.  To learn how to clear your cell phones stored memory and contacts go to: www.recyclewirelessphones.com

So far, the local chapter of MOAA has gathered enough cell phones to provide over 22,000 minutes of telephoning for our deployed airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines.

The Midshore Region’s Fall Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling Recycling Event on November 5 from 8 am – 2 pm in Denton serves Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties.  From Route 404, take Route 619 S. (6th Street) and turn right on Wilmuth, yellow signs will be posted.

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