Phos International press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 07/28/04
Michael Hansen
Phos International
780 North McCarran Blvd. #296
Sparks, NV 89431
775.342.5191 (cell contact)
www.phos-international.org

Cell phone recycling at Starbucks for a good cause

SPARKS, NEV– The founders of a local non-profit start-up to bring aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo have a vision that is going to require capital and hard work.

But they aren’t asking you for your money.

They just want your old cell phones.

Phos International, based in Sparks, is setting up receptacles at local Starbucks and other various locations to take old cell phones that are still usable, as well as broken, near-trashcan status phones.

“Less than one percent of used cell phones get recycled,” Michael Hansen, of Phos International, said. “That means that the other 99 percent will end up in landfills and that includes several caustic chemicals.”

Cell phones contain arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, nickel and zinc. These chemicals can seep into water supplies.

This is how it works: Phos takes the used cell phones that people have left in receptacles in Reno-area coffee shops, mostly Starbucks locations, to a cell phone recycling company in San Francisco. There, the phones are refurbished into usable phones and spare parts, then sent to South American countries where they are reintroduced onto the market. Once the phones are recycled, the money raised will beused to buy food, medicine and clothing to be shipped to the people of the Congo.

Hansen learned of the concept of cell phone recycling from Bruce Bawcom, a retired telecommunications contractor that’s worked all over the world.

“Being in the telecommunications industry for years, I knew of a way to lay the groundwork,” Bruce Bawcom, a board member for Phos, said. “I saw a need for this.”

Bawcom was living in Miami when he heard of cell phone recycling for the first time seven years ago.

“I didn’t know that there was so much value left in the cell phone,” Bawcom said. “It’s still an asset somewhere else in the world.”

In the heart of Africa, the continent’s third largest country is in the midst of a bloody civil war; 3.5 million people have died from fighting in the 7-year struggle. More than 75 percent of the Congolese people are malnourished, 10 to 35 percent of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS and millions of people are displaced refugees (Forcefully-moved refugees).

Implementation of cell phone receptacles has already begun in 6 states including coffee shops, gyms, churches and colleges. Locally the receptacles are in Starbucks in Reno, Carson City, Gardnerville, Incline Village, Stateline and across the California Border, South Lake Tahoe and Truckee. Also in Reno, Deux Gros Nez Coffee Shop, the Pneumatic Diner and the Purple Bean have receptacles.

“Cell phone recycling needs to happen,” Hansen said. “If anything, it’s good for the environment.”

Photo opportunity: date, time. Broll: delivering receptacles w/cell phones and pictures of victims from Congo
Contact: Michael Hansen, cell 342-5191

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