Bell Atlantic Mobile Starts Phone Recycling 08/10/99 >BY Sylvia Dennis

Bell Atlantic Mobile Starts Phone Recycling 08/10/99 >BY Sylvia Dennis

TREVOSE, PHILADELPHIA, U.S.A., 1999 AUG 10 (NB) — Taking a leaf out of some of the European networks, Bell Atlantic Mobile has started one of the first mobile phone recycling programs in North America.

One of the problems with cellular phones is that, because of their subsidized pricing, many users find it cheaper to sling their phones and buy a new phone plus contract than replace a battery on their 18 month-old handset, Newsbytes notes.

While this is fine in terms of new phone sales, the fact that most phone batteries contain such environmental nasties such as cadmium (from ni-cads) and even lithium (from li-ion) means that the disposal of the battery has to be carefully considered.

In the early days of cellular, many refuse collection firms were alarmed to find that cellular batteries actually exploded when the battery went into an incinerator.

Bell Atlantic Mobile says that its “Wireless at Work” phone recycling program will allow wireless phone customers throughout the Greater Philadelphia area, including suburban Philadelphia, southern New Jersey and Delaware, to recycle their phones, rather than simply dump them.

As well as being more environmentally friendly, the mobile operator said that the phones can also be recycled for use by worthy groups wanting second user handsets.

The carrier says that it will work with non-profit community groups throughout the region to reprogram the donated phones to dial 911 at the touch of a button. It will then return the phones to the groups where they will help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications.

The program is open to any qualifying community service organization willing to serve as a collection point for the used phone equipment.

Bell Atlantic Mobile says that a pilot recycling program was recently launched in Camden, New Jersey. The carrier says that is now collecting applications from other interested groups.

Pam Boyd, a spokesperson for Bell Atlantic Mobile, told Newsbytes that the New Jersey pilot program, which started in May of this year, is a joint venture between the carrier and the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

In the project, she said, senior citizens and people with disabilities will be the first recipients of collected phones. Phones are currently being collected at various drop-off points throughout Camden County and as an added incentive, people who donate phones are receiving a tax-deductible receipt.

Bell Atlantic Mobile’s Web site is at http://www.bam.com .

Reported by Newsbytes.com, http://www.newsbytes.com .

(19990810/Press Contact: Ami Lonner, Bell Atlantic Mobile 215-790- 4388/WIRES TELECOM/)

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