The old cell phone in one person’s closet could be another person’s
salvation in an emergency.
The Burbank Police Department and Burbank Recycle Center are
collecting old cell phones to be redistributed to those who might
need emergency attention, including seniors and victims of domestic
violence. The phones are reprogrammed so they can only dial 911 or
other emergency numbers.
After the phones are collected, they are given to Pacoima-based
Pledge-A- Phone for distribution. In the two months the Burbank
program has been in place, company officials said more than 200
phones have been donated. They will soon begin giving those phones to
people who qualify. Police also donate seized phones for
Capt. Gordon Bowers said the phones provide an important safety
“From the few people I’ve talked to who have gotten one, it sounds
like a critical factor in their ability to feel safe,” he said.
Michael Thornton, a spokesman for Pledge-A- Phone, said the phones
it gets are usually older, analog models, but they come in all shapes
“We’ve even gotten phones like the ‘Miami Vice’ brick phones,” he
The Recycle Center has accepted cell phones for nearly two years,
Recycling Specialist Hope McAloon said. In the past, they were
grouped in with other electronics and shipped to companies that
recycle the parts and equipment.
She said the new program not only keeps the phones out of the
landfills, but provides people a needed service.
“Anytime we can reuse something, that’s better for the
environment,” she said. “This also gives us the opportunity to do
Phones can be dropped off at Police Headquarters, 200 N. Third
St., or at the Recycle Center, 500 S. Flower St. Anyone who needs an
emergency phone can call Pledge-A-Phone at (888) 259-4860.