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Cell phone recycling drive begins this month

CONYERS - Keep Conyers-Rockdale Beautiful urges residents this month to donate their old cell phones rather than throwing them away or forgetting them in a desk drawer. Doing so will help a worthy cause and keep hazardous materials from ending up in landfills.

Residents can turn in old cell phones at several locations across Rockdale County beginning this week through the rest of February. Drop-off locations include all county fire departments, the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office and the Rockdale County Administration and Services Building.

Cell phones do not have to be in working order to be accepted. The phones will be refurbished and all funds raised through their resale will support Project ReNeWal, the local domestic violence shelter, said Holly Lafontaine, KCRB's county staff liaison.

Though not currently a big problem, cell phones are poised to become a major "e-waste" problem, just as computers are today. News reports estimate that more than 400 million cell phones are sold every year in the United States, compared to 100 million personal computers.

Like computers, cell phones contain hazardous materials that could contaminate soil and ground water if released in a landfill, Lafontaine said.

The recycling effort is one of the first of the year for KCRB. Founded by Anne Waldrop more than 30 years ago, KCRB had long been independent in organizing community beautification efforts.

The next scheduled event is the annual Great American Cleanup on April 19. Volunteers will gather that morning to remove litter and debris from local roadways, neighborhoods and parks.

The local effort is organized in concert with the national Great American Cleanup.

KCRB will also hold a recycling drive for telephone books in May. The elementary school that collects the most telephone books will receive a $400 prize.

A drive for electronics recycling is also planned in June. Residents can turn in electronic equipment without charge. Lafontaine said all computer hard drives turned in are shredded before mixing with other materials for recycling.

For more information on KCRB recycling and clean-up events, contact Lafontaine at 770-929-4076 or holly.lafontaine@rockdalecounty.org.

SideBar: At A Glance

What: Cell phone recycling drive by Keep Conyers-Rockdale Beautiful and the Rockdale County District Attorney's Office.

When: Through Feb. 24

Where: Drop-off points will be at all Rockdale County fire departments, the Board of Commissioners Office, Rockdale County Administration and Services Building, Rockdale County Sheriff's Office.

What: Cell phones will be donated to the Project ReNeWal shelter. All money received from refurbishing or recycling the cell phones will go toward the shelter's operations.

For more information: contact Holly Lafontaine at 770-929-4076 or holly.lafontaine@rockdalecounty.org.