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The Jack & Jill Children's Foundation has kicked off a month-long drive to recycle over half a million old or unwanted mobile phones. The charity cares for families with terminally ill babies suffering irreparable brain damage, referred to by doctors as SDD. It aims to raise €500,000 from its recycling project.

The foundation estimates that for every 20,000 phones it receives it will be able to support one new nurse. Functional phones will be sent to third world countries while broken phones will be dismantled - some parts will be re-used while toxic elements will be removed and disposed of safely.

"For the past seven years we've collected empty toner and inkjet cartridges," campaign organiser Stephen Bebbington told ENN. "We saw groups in Britain doing something similar with mobile phones. Last year we did a sort of dry run collecting mobiles and managed to raise around €100,000."

A three week print and radio advertising campaign to raise awareness of the collection begins on Sunday. The campaign will see freepost envelopes distributed through the news media allowing mobile phone owners to mail their unwanted devices at no extra charge. There will also be collection bins placed in pubs, schools, phamarcies and other outlets throughout Ireland.

Celebrities lending their support to the campaign include hurling star DJ Carey, rugby player Denis Hickie, jockey Frankie Dettori, pop star Ronan Keating and economist Eddie Hobbs. "We have been bowled over by people's generosity in supporting this. Businesses have given freely of their facilities to aid the collection process, and are offering free or heavily discounted advertising," said Jonathan Irwin, founder of Jack & Jill.

"They seem to have really taken on board the fact that in recycling old mobiles, everybody wins. The giver feels good, the charity gets real hard cash, the environment wins, and the third world wins. They have realised that at the end of the day, what's the use of old phones languishing in a bottom drawer at home when they could actually be doing good for our babies, for so many causes and so many people?"

Further information on the campaign can be found here.

Copyright © 2007, ENN

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