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Phone = Home for Katrina victims

Used cell phone drive to benefit Homes from the Heartland project

Old cell phones and inkjet cartridges can help build homes for Hurricane Katrina victims. The City of Kansas City, Mo., is conducting a Phoneraiser to raise money for the Homes from the Heartland Katrina Rebuilding Project.

Unwanted cell phones and inkjet cartridges will be collected now through June 12 at most City facilities and participating Westlake Ace Hardware stores. Westlake Ace Hardware is a sponsor of the City's KC Recycles curbside recycling program.

The cell phones and inkjet cartridges will be recycled in accordance with EPA regulations or refurbished and reused.

"This fundraiser not only benefits Homes from the Heartland, but assists in preserving the environment and bringing communications technology to those who can use it," said Mary Charles, City Communications officer.

A study by Inform, an independent research organization, found that there are more than 500 million used, out-of-commission and obsolete cell phones in homes and offices across America. The average U.S. household contains three used cell phones. In 2006 alone, more than 130 million cell phones will be discarded.

If not disposed of properly, cell phones are damaging to the air, soil and water. Every cell phone contains no less than eight hazardous materials including arsenic, antimony, beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel and zinc.

Disposing of these phones in a landfill allows these substances to contaminate groundwater and soil. One cell phone can pollute up to 132,000 liters of water. Burning them in an incinerator releases chemicals associated with reproductive complications, cancers, and developmental problems in children.

Cell phones and inkjet cartridges donated to the Phoneraiser are either refurbished or disposed of using only the most ecologically sound methods.

The donated cell phones are completely dismantled and the information on them is destroyed in the process. However, donors should erase all sensitive information and make sure service has been discontinued.

The public can take their unwanted cell phones to the following participating Westlake Ace Hardware stores:

    5009 N.E. Vivion Road, Kansas City, MO 64119

    10130 E. #350 Hwy., Raytown, MO 64138

    6201 Independence Ave., Kansas City, MO 64125

    1000 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO 64111

    444 S.W. Ward Road, Lee's Summit, MO 64081

    1020 W. 103rd St., Kansas City, MO 64114

    5945 N.E. Antioch Road, Gladstone, MO 64119

    4545B S. Noland Road, Independence, MO 64055.

Homes from the Heartland is a joint project between the City and Habitat for Humanity Kansas City. From June 17-23, teams of volunteers from the City, other government agencies, corporations and organizations will build 10 homes to be shipped to Louisiana families.

The north side of the Liberty Memorial will be the site of this project. In addition to the building event, on June 17 there will be activities for families including entertainment; food vendors; and activities for children, such as a construction-themed arts and crafts tent.

Other fundraisers include the Homes from the Heartland Gala on June 17 at the Westin Crown Center Hotel. Tickets are $125.

For more information about the gala and other information about the project, call the City Communications Office, (816) 513-1349, or visit

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