ByMegan Winkler

May 6, 2014

DonateMobileDevice_89694146Yeah, we’re hitting you with a double barrel of “get your crap out of your house” today, aren’t we? I’m sure you’ve seen Aaron’s rant about old televisions, computers, and other e-junk that piles up in our garages, attics and spare closets. Like Aaron, I include myself in this sin. Around my house, we always have the latest and greatest device. Each new device always comes with the question of what to do with the old stuff. My daughter gets a lot of it, actually. Her laptop and 8-inch tablet were castoffs we were done with, but a family of three can only use so many devices.

My friends benefited from our “old” devices—those that are last year’s model but still function just fine. You know the ones I mean. But, there are only so many friends willing to take these things off our hands. I know, I know: first world problems.

You can’t flip on the television or car radio without hearing the latest ad for the new version of the same phone you already have. If we’re being honest, both Apple and Samsung have only changed their devices incrementally over the past few years, yet we’re always on the lookout for the next best thing. The numbers show that their crazy marketing works too.

According to J. D. Power and Associates, the average American upgrades his or her phone once every 16 to 18 months. That’s 93,000 mobile phones each year that have been deemed unworthy to grace our pockets and purses because they’re “old.” Only about 10 percent of those phones are recycled. The rest either end up in a landfill, or they end up—if you’re like me—in a drawer somewhere, just taking up space.

So why not donate the previously loved devices to a good cause? The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has partnered with Cellular Recycler to raise funds for their programs that combat violence in the home. This isn’t one of those programs that allow you to send in your cell phone so that a woman can dial 911 when she’s in trouble. Trust me, I’m not knocking those initiatives; they’re needed.

Instead, NCADV receives actual dollar bills for each donated device. Those proceeds go toward funding programs that empower victims of domestic violence and connect them with resources that help them to remain free from this terrible reality. Among its other missions, NCADV supports legislation to end domestic violence, and it supports other organizations that work towards the same goal.

NCADV will accept more than just cell phones, however. They also want the accessories that go with them (power cords, Bluetooth accessories, etc.), and they want laptops, MP3 players, digital cameras, and video game consoles. Every item is sent to Cellular Recycler for refurbishing or recycling. About 60 percent of the items received from NCADV can be refurbished and resold. The Coalition then receives about a third of the proceeds gained from the sale of your old devices. They also receive 50 cents for each item that can’t be resold. In 2014 alone, they’ve already raised about $63,000. Clearly, every cent helps.

So rather than tossing your devices in the trash and sending them to a landfill—where the lead, beryllium, arsenic, and other toxic chemicals leach out of them and into our waterways—give them and some of our fellow human beings a new lease on life by helping raise funds for NCADV’s programs.

You know you’re itching to start spring-cleaning. What are you waiting for?

By Megan Winkler

Eco-nerd, solar power enthusiast, DIY diva and professional coffee drinker, Megan has written everything from courses in healthcare and psychology to interior design and cooking advice. She has a master’s degree in military history, owns two chainsaws, is a collector of strange trivia and a world renowned Pinterest pro. She is constantly looking for better ways to do things.