Skip to content

Opinion: What to do with old cell phones?

Have you ever wondered what to do with your old cell phones? Chances are you have an old cell phone or two sitting around your home. Should you just throw them in the trash? Can they be recycled? What do you do with them?

You definitely don’t want to trash old cell phones. They contain toxic chemicals that can get into the ground and poison the water. It also poses a danger to workers who crush trash. Instead, it is best to recycle your phone.

Where can you recycle and put your old phone to good use? I know just the place. It’s called Cell Phones For Soldiers.
Cell Phones For Soldiers is a national nonprofit serving troops and veterans with free communication services and emergency funding. Founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones For Soldiers relies on donations of used cell phones to provide a lifeline for America’s bravest.

Robbie and Brittany Bergquist have been recognized by President Bush, the Boston Celtics and the New England Patriots for outstanding and exceptional services to the Armed Forces of the United States.

They have been featured on the CBS Evening News, the View, CNN and now your hometown newspaper.

Steve Coulter, Co-Publisher

“I cofounded Cell Phones For Soldiers back in 2004 when I was 12 years old with my sister Brittany. We were getting ready for school when we saw a news story about a soldier serving in Afghanistan. He was calling home with an $8,000 cell phone bill. We decided to do a carwash and bake sale to try to pay off his phone bill. We were successful in paying off his bill,” said Cell Phones For Soldiers Founder and Director Rob Bergquist.

They discovered all these military members serving overseas were coming up with large cell phone bills. The soldiers just wanted to call home.

“We collect cell phones and recycle them in order to generate a profit to send phone cards overseas-so these large cell phone bills don’t happen anymore,” said Bergquist.

Cell Phones For Soldiers is serving and helping Oklahomans right now.

“We collect cell phones in all 50 states. We have collection sites that are in Oklahoma. We do have a lot of people that donate from Oklahoma. We have supported and sent phone cards to service members and provided support to Veterans from Oklahoma,” he said.

They accept all types of phones and devices. You can send cracked phones, flip phones and even broken phones. You can also send tablets, chargers and accessories. They accept it all and recycle it properly so it doesn’t end up in a landfill.

It sounds like a really great cause and they’re getting great feedback from soldiers.

“We’ve had amazing stories hearing how our phone cards have connected active duty service members to their families on major holidays. They’ve opened up Christmas presents with their families through our phone cards. Spoken to their families on Thanksgiving. Heard their child’s first words with our phone cards. It’s been an amazing way to connect active duty service members with their families while they’ve been deployed,” said Bergquist.

Since 2004, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided U.S. troops with more than 400 million “Minutes That Matter” and distributed more than 7 million prepaid international calling cards. They have also recycled more than 20 million cell phones, reducing the impact on landfills.

Consider donating your old phones to Cell Phones For Soldiers. You can find all the information to donate your phone and find drop off locations at

Leave a Comment