When you switch on your cellphone, you probably don't realize that the little gadget in your hand has a not-so-small role to play in the Congo conflict and the destruction of gorillas. The culprit is a mineral called Coltan. It is used in the manufacture of everything from mobile phones (and nearly every consumer electronic device) to hip replacements. Coltan is a conflict mineral and there is no alternative in sight. The only good news is that 20% of global demand comes from recycling.
We can help by donating old cell phones (and other electronics), so that the recycling industry can reclaim some more percentage from the Coltan that gets mined. But that is not the only way we can help. Here are five more ways to donate cell phones and help a local or global cause.
Help Soldiers Call Home
Cell Phones for Soldiers was started by two kids aged 12 and 13 in 2004 with $21 of their pocket money. Since then it has raised $7 million and has helped American soldiers posted overseas stay in touch with their families free of cost. The non-profit organization distributes calling cards to soldiers. It raises money through fundraising and recycling of used mobile phones. So far, the service has recycled more than 10 million cell phones with the help of Recellular – one of the world’s largest recycler and reseller of used cellular phones and accessories. Here's how you can donate a cellphone.
Save an Endangered Species
Eco-Cell is a fundraising and resource facilitating startup that works with various organizations to reduce e-waste. The organization runs a very effective Cell Phone and Handheld Electronics Recycling program. One of its activities is partnerships with nearly 110 zoos in America and also botanical gardens, conservation and ecology organizations. Eco-Cell encourages recycling organizations to collect old cellphones and send them across. Eco-Cell determines their recycling potential and pays up to $50 for cellphones. Eco-Cell also provides other downloadable resources to help with the cellphone recycling drives.
For instance, you can save an endangered species as this orangutan conservancy project shows.
For Healthy Babies
The March of Dimes is a non-profit organization that works to educate and improve the health of mothers and babies worldwide. It was founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 to combat polio. You can donate your old cellphones and help The March of Dimes in recycling cell phones to raise money to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. The non-profit accepts all kinds of cellphones which are then sold to recyclers to raise money.
Stop Domestic Violence
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is on a mission to keep homes safe by spreading awareness about domestic violence. Your support by way of donating old cellphones can help shield domestic violence victims from abuse; support parents fighting to protect their children from an abusive partner; and help spread nationwide awareness. NCADV partners with ReCellular to raise money for the program and also keep landfills free from e-waste. You can ship phones to the organization for free (U.S. only) and also launch collection drives in your locality.
Help Feed a Family
Food Banks Canada is a Canadian and global support organization that seeks to combat world hunger by supporting food banks and food bank networks. It supports varied food assistance programs. Food Banks Canada runs a phone-for-food campaign that has so far collected more than $750,000 for the program. Anyone can participate by collecting old, unwanted handheld devices and dropping them off at designated drop-off centers. They can be mailed also.
These five organizations are doing their bit to improve the world. You can say – one cellphone at a time. But the bigger impact is on the environment as cellphones get recycled and don't end up populating landfills. Recycling the precious metals also could in small ways help to stave off a few global ills. That's not all…here are three more posts for you to check out if you are interested in the global need for recycling old cellphones (or other gadgets) and other causes:
- 7 Ways To Properly Dispose Of Old Cell Phones
- 10 Websites That Help You Recycle Or Reuse Old Stuff & Protect Our Environment
- 5 Websites To Lend A Hand & Make A Difference To The World
How do you donate old cell phones? Is there a community or a manufacturer recycling program that helps? Spread the awareness in the comments.
Image Credit: kongsky (Free Digital Photos)