UpCycle4Hope raises money for USO

15 Jul 2011 | Cpl. Miranda Blackburn

By high noon on a sunny Saturday, a semi-truck was filled with seven full pallets of used and broken electronics donated by community members for "upcycling."

UpCycle4Hope, a non-profit organization that takes used or broken electronic devices and repairs them for resale, held a fundraising event Saturday, June 25, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Wal-Mart on Yopp Road in Jacksonville, N.C.

This was the first of many fundraising events that will be held throughout North Carolina in order to raise money to donate to the USO of North Carolina.

The next upcycle fundraising event to be held in Jacksonville will be at the Wal-Mart located on Marine Boulevard, July 16, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Events will also be held in New Bern, Charlotte, Morehead City, Raleigh and Cherry Point.

Upcycling is the process of converting useless products into useful ones, generating a second or even third life in an electronic device.

While some electronics are at the end of their useful life, they can still be donated to UpCycle4Hope to be responsibly recycled or sold for parts at wholesale.

Because of the introduction of iPhones, Android phones and the iPad, many of the older cell phones and devices just sitting in junk drawers can be upcycled for a second life to deserving homes.

According to Rob Graham, event coordinator for UpCycle4Hope, the average U.S. home has $1,643 worth of dormant electronics, and electronic waste makes up only three percent of trash in landfills but is responsible for 70 percent of toxic waste.

Due to a new North Carolina state law, which states televisions and computers must be recycled, the fundraising initiative couldn't have come at a better time.

"In addition to televisions and computers, we're looking for cell phones, particularly phones with keyboards or touch screens, laptops and netbooks, video game consoles and games, digital cameras and other lightweight devices," said Graham.

Volunteers from Wal-Mart, UpCycle4Hope and the USO took anything donators dropped off at the site, ranging from what looked like one of the first computers ever made to iPhones in mint condition.

While UpCycle4Hope will accept items in virtually any condition, they do ask for discretion. The older and more damaged items will be worth less and take more effort to repair, and the intent is to raise as much money as possible for the USO of North Carolina. Certain items, such as anything created by Apple, have a much higher inherent value and therefore are much more likely to help meet the USO of North Carolina's fundraising goals.

Donations made at any of the upcycle fundraising events throughout North Carolina will help improve the quality of life for the 500,000 active, retired and reserve service members and their families.

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