OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University’s Environmental Club, in partnership with Cell Phones for Soldiers, has launched a recycling campaign to collect deactivated cell phones that are no longer used. Proceeds from the collection drive will help purchase prepaid calling cards for U.S. soldiers deployed overseas.
Cell Phones for Soldiers hopes to collect more than 50,000 phones nationwide, so soldiers can stay in touch with their families back in the States.
“We’re asking Americans to make a small sacrifice of support by donating their unused cell phones, providing families with a much-needed connection to their loved ones overseas,” said Brittany Bergquist, Cell Phones for Soldiers co-founder.
Locally, people can support the collection drive by donating their phones at WSU Environmental Club drop-off locations in the Shepherd Union Atrium and Student Association Offices on WSU’s Ogden campus.
“The WSU Environmental Club is excited to promote a cause that not only helps our soldiers, but our environment as well,” said Brett Jones, Environmental Club secretary. “Cell phones contain chemicals that are too dangerous to be placed in landfills, so they need to be recycled. The soldiers get to call home, and our environment is protected. Everybody wins with this program.”
The local phone drive will run through June 2008. In addition to cell phones, Jones said the drop-off locations also will accept compact fluorescent light bulbs, small toner cartridges and batteries—items that typically are hard to recycle in the Ogden area.
The collected cell phones are sent to ReCellular, which pays Cell Phones for Soldiers enough to provide an hour of talk time to soldiers abroad for each donated phone.
Approximately half of the phones processed by ReCellular are reconditioned and resold to wholesale companies in more than 40 countries around the world. 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.
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded in 2004 by teenagers Brittany and Robbie Bergquist of Norwell, Mass., with $21 of their own money. Since then, the nonprofit organization has raised nearly $1 million in donations and distributed more than 500,000 prepaid calling cards to soldiers serving overseas.
Through increased fundraising efforts, the Bergquist family hopes to raise more than $9 million in the next five years for new programs, such as providing video phones with prepaid service to allow soldiers abroad to see their families on a regular basis.
Visit cellphonesforsoldiers.com to learn more about the national project. Visit
weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.