Soldiers benefit from recycling cell phones - and textiles | Chicago Tribune

Wed June 19, 2013

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Will County Forest Preserve District officials are joining the ranks of those helping soldiers overseas call loved ones back home.

The district will be donating its old cell phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers, a non-profit group that takes old cell phones, sells the components and then purchases phone cards for soldiers to use to make calls.

"We thought it was a very good way to give back," said Marcy DeMauro, district executive director.

The district estimates it will have between 10 and 15 cell phones to recycle and plans to continue with the program for other employee cell phones.

Cell Phones for Soldiers has helped recycle 10.8 million cell phones since 2004 and provided 181 million minutes of free talk time to soldiers, according to its website.

"It's a very good cause," DeMauro said.

The district will not accept cell phones from the public, but drop sites are located at most Liberty Tax Service offices throughout Will County.

Cell phones are the latest addition to district recycling efforts. Residents can drop off most electronic items at the Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet and the Monee Reservoir in Monee.

District spokesman Bruce Hodgdon said the Sugar Creek dropoff site is one of the most successful, with collections scheduled twice a week at times.

Textile recycling is available at 18 of the district's preserves. In partnership with USAgain, bins can be filled with old clothing, shoes and household textiles such as tablecloths or curtains.

According to USAgain's website, the company has helped divert more than 532 million textile items from landfills across the country. The company recycles the clothing by reselling it at affordable prices to people throughout the world. Will County residents dropped off more than 3,000 pounds of clothing and other textiles at a recycling event in May.

The district also provides bins for newspaper recycling at its preserves.

For more information about Cell Phones for Soldiers, see Additional information about USAgain's textile recycling can be found at