Subway announced that it is joining environmental advocacy group Rock the Earth, Water Street Music Hall, Gibson Guitar, and Brother Wease from 95.1 The Fox to hold a cell phone recycling campaign in Rochester, New York, beginning December 11.

During the campaign weekend, customers dropping off a used cell phone at any participating Subway store in Rochester will receive a free 6-inch sandwich (excludes premium subs, and only one sandwich per donator). There are about 69 Subway restaurants in Rochester.

An improperly recycled cell phone has the potential to contaminate 40,000 gallons of drinking water. The phone contains toxic substances that can enter the ecosystem when taken to landfills or incinerated, says Shawn Kilmurray, executive director of Rock the Earth.

Those donating will also receive an electronic coupon good for 20 percent off items purchased from Musictoday. (Customers will receive an entry in their free 6-inch Subway sandwich bag that they can then deposit into an entry box. Prizewinners will be notified after the campaign, and a Musictoday coupon will be e-mailed.) In addition, they will also be registered to win prizes including a Gibson Les Paul SG special guitar (retail value $1,600), concert tickets to Water Street Music Hall, tickets to Rochester Knighthawks and Rochester Amerks games, an overnight suite for two and dinner at Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside, CDs, signed artist memorabilia, DVDs, and more.

The campaign’s goal is to increase properly recycled cell phones, since less than 10 percent are disposed correctly today. In fact, when cell phones are properly recycled, metals are reclaimed, which means less mining; toxic chemicals are safely eliminated, and refurbished phones can be given to groups such as battered women’s shelters, whose clientele cannot afford them. And, all recycling and refurbishing of cell phones is done in the U.S., Kilmurray says.

“We have organized a meaningful recycling campaign with enthusiastic, community-minded partners,” says Joe Franch, Rochester franchisee board chairman. “Subway customers are incredible and we anticipate a large turnout. For their support, we want to reward them and we believe what we are offering will be well-received.”

“Rock the Earth applauds Subway’s pro-active approach in this effort to engage Rochester-area residents to take action on an individual-driven effort to improve the overall health of the entire community,” said Kilmurray. “Small, personal actions such as recycling (mobile phones, plastic, batteries, etc.) can be cathartic and change our habits allowing for positive improvements to individual communities, while impacting the country and the world as a whole.”

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