My brother-in-law is a (newly promoted) lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and he has served two tours-of-duty in South Korea, one in Iraq and is still active duty. I also have numerous relatives, including both of my Grandfathers, and friends who are veterans. So, anything that helps members of our military, is near and dear to my heart. And an organization that helps our brave men and women while helping our environment, is nothing short of amazing… one such organization is Cell Phones for Soldiers.
Since its inception in 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers has worked to provide free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. For a decade, the charity’s longstanding calling card program, Minutes That Matter has provided servicemen and women with an estimated 3 million prepaid calling cards, equating to more than 210 million minutes of FREE talk time.
Cell Phones for Soldiers fuels it’s mission through generous monetary contributions and the recycling of donated mobile phones. Newer or gently-used mobile phones from all service providers are accepted. Each $5 contribution, or donated device valued at $5, will provide troops with 2.5 hours of FREE talk time.
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist of Norwell, Mass., at the ages of 12 and 13. The organization has prevented more than 11.3 million cell phones from ending up in landfills.
“Cell Phones for Soldiers started as a small way to show our family’s appreciation for the men and women who have sacrificed the day-to-day contact with their own families to serve in the U.S. armed forces,” says charity President, Bob Bergquist. “Over the past few years, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of others. But, we have also seen the need to support our troops continue to grow as more troops are sent overseas for longer assignments.”
Why is recycling cell phones so important?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), electronic waste (e-waste) is accumulating almost three times faster than ordinary household trash and an estimated 100 to 130 million cell phones are no longer being used, many sitting unused in storage.
Recycling cell phones reduces greenhouse gas emissions, keeps valuable material out of
landfills and incinerators, and conserves natural resources. Cell phones and accessories are made from valuable resources such as precious metals, copper, and plastics – all of which require energy to extract and manufacture.
According to the EPA, if Americans recycled 100 million phones, we could save enough upstream energy to power more than 194,000 U.S. households for a year. If consumers were able to reuse those 100 million cell phones, the environmental savings would be even greater, saving enough energy to power more than 370,000 U.S. homes each year.
The EPA has targeted cell phone recycling because fewer than 20 percent of cell phones are recycled each year and most people do not know where to recycle them.
How can you help?
Donate your unused cellphones. Phones can be sent directly to Cell Phones for Soldiers’ recycling partner at the address listed below or can be dropped off at any of the Cell Phones for Soldiers official drop-off sites, find your local drop-off location at http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/zipcodeLocator.php.
To become an official Cell Phones for Soldiers drop-off location sign up at http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/drop_off.php.
Cell Phones for Soldiers
4500 Cambridge Rd, Dock Door 9/10
Fort Worth, TX 76155-2234
You can also give a monetary contribution, visit http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/donate_now.php to find out more.
What happens to your phone once it’s dropped off?
All cell phones donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers are sold either to an electronic refurbisher or a recycler. Once the charity receives a donated cell phone, the device is quickly wiped of all personal information and checked to see if it is repairable. A cell phone that is repairable is sold to an electronic refurbisher who will repair the device and resell it in the aftermarket. However, cell phones that are either too old or completely broken are sold to recyclers who strip the devices of any salvageable components and/or rare metals and then responsibly recycle the remaining parts. The proceeds from the phones are used to purchase prepaid international calling cards for troops and provide emergency financial assistance to veterans.
While only one day of the year is dedicated solely to honoring our veterans, Americans must never forget the sacrifices that many of our fellow countrymen have made to defend our country and protect our freedoms. ~Randy Neugebauer