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Recycling Cell Phones to Help the Community

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Energy and the Environment

Every year in America, over 100 million new cell phones are sold at stores and malls. Of theses sales, 95% sales are going to consumers that already have a phone. What do you do with your old phone? Secure the Call,, relies on volunteers to collect used and unwanted phones and recycle them back to the community to be used as free 911 emergency-only phones.

As Secure the Call volunteer Gafaar explains, “I never knew what to do with my old cell phones. I was afraid to give it away, because it contains my personal information, and I didn’t want to just throw it away. So the phones would just collect dust in my kitchen drawer.” In addition to personal information, all cell phones contain trace amounts of hazardous materials and should never be deposited in a landfill. Rather than letting them collect dust, now there's a better choice. Volunteer high school students reconfigure the phones collected by Secure the Call as 911 emergency-only cell phones. They then give the phones to their "Community Partners" (Senior Citizen Centers, Domestic Violence Shelters, Police and Sheriff's Departments), who in turn give them away to anyone who needs a phone to call.

Kine, a high school volunteer said that “working with Secure the Call feels great! Not only are volunteers helping keep people safe, but also they are helping cut back on pollution, which is one of the greatest challenges of our generation.” Phones stay out of the landfills and people without a phone now have a safety net in the case of an emergency.

According to Mike Morgan, founder of Secure the Call, "The program only works because of the great response from the community. Whether it's companies offering to hold a drive or host a barrel or volunteers asking what they can do to help, we rely solely on the generosity of the community for everything we do." With more than 700 barrels available for phone collection (most Whole Foods Markets and ShopRite grocery stores have one), many most people can find a barrel near them to donate their old phone and keep it out of the landfills of America.

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