We all have those old cell phones languishing in a drawer somewhere. Often we keep them because getting rid of them seems like more work. The toxins within cell phones, including lead and nickel, can pollute the environment when disposed of incorrectly. There’s also a security risk from just dumping them as others may be able to access the private information we’ve kept on those phones.

Hope Phones, a division of Medic Mobile, provides a solution to this problem while also helping developing countries around the world. 

The premise is simple. You print off a free shipping label from Hope Phones’ website and use it to send out one of those old phones. The phone does not need to actually work and they don’t require you to send any chargers or other accessories. Their partners erase your data through a certified and secure process and then recycle the phone. The value of the materials in the phone (whether from sale or materials) is transferred to Hope Phones to buy new technology.

Medic Mobile, Hope Phones’ parent organization, has already put together many technology solutions for community health workers all over the world. They currently work in 16 countries in order to provide reliable and needed services for these workers. The organization has created mobile data collection programs to allow traveling healthcare workers to report back to a centrally located doctor. They’ve also created tools that allow these workers to coordinate schedules, manage supplies, and generate reports.

With the value from your donated phone, Hope Phones will acquire even more technology that can be used in these hard to reach locations. As they note on their website, “If Hope Phones can recycle just 1% of disposed phones each year, we can outfit 1 million health workers, improving the lives of 50 million people.”

That’s a lot more impact than your current phone has sitting in that drawer. 

If you’re interested in learning more, check out Hope Phones’ website. You can find free shipping labels to donate your own and advice on starting your own donation drive. You can also follow their pages on Facebook or Twitter in order to stay connected with their charity.

Image by Erik Hersman via Flicker


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