U.S. Cellular launches wireless handset recycling program

U.S. Cellular is giving northern Illinois residents who take advantage of wireless number portability (WNP) a way to recycle retired wireless phones for a good cause. Industry experts predict millions of phones will be cast aside because consumers nationwide now have the option of changing service providers while retaining their original wireless phone number. To give consumers a way to safely dispose of those unused phones and support RAMP (Regional Access and Mobilization Project), U.S. Cellular is re-launching its CARE SM (Community Action Recycling Effort SM) program in Rockford and other select cities nationwide.

Through the CARE program, which will continue through Aug. 31, residents of Rockford can go to any local U.S. Cellular store or exclusive agent location to donate their retired wireless phones. The CARE program is open to all wireless consumers. Donated phones will be sold to RMS Communications Inc., which restores and refurbishes wireless phones. Proceeds from the donated phones will benefit RAMP. Even phones that have no market value will be accepted. The materials from these phones will be recycled and re-used in other manufacturing processes, preventing the raw materials from ending up in the nation’s landfills. “The U.S. Cellular CARE program is one way that we help consumers give back to the local community and protect the environment through a simple donation—a wireless phone,” said Julia Eystad, director of sales for U.S. Cellular. “We encourage everyone in northern Illinois to stop by any U.S. Cellular location and take advantage of this great opportunity.”

“For years, U.S. Cellular has been an active and generous supporter of RAMP,” said John Beck, development director of RAMP. “We are thrilled by the creative manner in which U.S. Cellular has chosen to continue aiding RAMP in our efforts to ensure equal opportunities for people with disabilities in northern Illinois.”

U.S. Cellular is accepting any wireless phone, excluding bag phones or vehicle-installed models. The phones need not be in working order. The company will also accept the phone’s battery or charger, if available. Collection bins will be located at all U.S. Cellular retail stores and authorized agent locations.

Established in 1980, RAMP is a non-profit Center for Independent Living (CIL) that advocates for and serves people with disabilities in Boone, DeKalb, Stephenson, and Winnebago counties in north central Illinois. RAMP’s mission is to promote an accessible society that allows and expects full participation by people with disabilities. By expecting people with disabilities to play an active role in society, they can begin to realize their full potential and start to give back to their community. RAMP teaches society that people with disabilities can and must be more active in their communities. This, in turn, gives the person with a disability opportunities that otherwise might have been non-existent.

This past year, RAMP staff served 1,275 consumers, surpassing the previous year’s total of 988.

U.S. Cellular Corporation, the nation’s eighth largest wireless service carrier, provides wireless service to more than 4.5 million customers in 147 markets throughout 26 states. The 20-year-old, Chicago-based company has provided service to Illinois since 1985 and operates on a customer satisfaction strategy, meeting customers’ needs by providing a comprehensive range of wireless products and services, superior customer support, a high-quality network and targeted community outreach activities. U.S. Cellular is listed and traded as USM on the American Stock Exchange. For more information about U.S. Cellular, visit the company’s Web site at www.uscellular.com.

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