Technology is taking what cell phones can do to new levels all the time. Many cell phone users upgrade almost as fast leaving their old phone unused and rarely thought about.
Metro Augusta and Columbia County Clean and Beautiful have found a use for neglected and outdated phones while keeping landfills free of the toxic chemicals they can produce.
"This is a new program that we just implemented," said Lillian-Katharine Blanos, executive director of Metro Augusta Clean and Beautiful. "We are very excited about it. We are getting off to a good start."
The donations go to an Atlanta company that refurbishes working or near-working phones for use in developing third world countries. Older phones will be used for parts or recycled according to the Environmental Protection Agency standards.
Metro Augusta Clean and Beautiful, which is contracted to provide its services to Columbia County, will receive $20 per usable phone to support Clean and Beautiful programs in schools.
When a cell phone is discarded to a landfill, the batteries corrode and release toxic chemicals including mercury, cadmium and lead, which mixes with leachate. Leachate needs to be contained, which is how the batteries are recycled according to government environmental standards.
It may not be a huge problem now, but it will grow as technology forces cell phone users to periodically upgrade.
"It will be (a problem) because more and more people are using cell phones," Blanos said. "People have not known what to do with them so they end up in a drawer somewhere at home. You just kind of lay it aside and lay it aside and don't think about it."
Drop boxes are available at the following locations: Harlem City Hall, Harlem; Augusta-Richmond Solid Waste Facility, 4330 Deans Bridge Road, Augusta; Baker Place Road Landfill, 590 Baker Place Road, Grovetown; Columbia County Emergency Service Division, 500 Faircloth Drive, Evans; Paine College, 1235 15th St., Augusta; Publix, 2816 Washington Road, National Plaza, Augusta; Savannah Rapids Pavilion, 3300 Evans-To-Locks Road, Martinez; Mayor Bob Young's office, 530 Greene St., Room 506, Augusta; and the Metro Augusta Clean and Beautiful office, 418 Greene St., Augusta.
For more information, call (706) 261-4390.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.