Turn Old Cell Phones into Cash for Your Center
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Turn Old Cell Phones into Cash for Your Center

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May 9, 2012

“The NCOA and Cellular Recycler fundraising partnership is fantastic. The program provides NCOA/NISC-affiliated senior centers with an easy, financially successful fundraiser with very little time commitment, and donors find an environmentally safe home for their old cell phones. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

That’s just one testimonial from a NISC member who participates in the NISC Cellular Recycler program. Since 2007, senior centers have raised over $98,000 with this fundraising program—a benefit of NISC membership.

Hollee Camacho, assistant director at the Stoughton Area Senior Center, CITY, ST, says her center began the program in August 2006 by talking to local electronic businesses and advertising in local newsletters and websites.

“In the past year, our senior center has already collected about 600 phones, earning us over $2,500! Our success is due to our giving community members, and especially from the support of Dan Hanson of Hanson Electronics/RadioShack of Stoughton, who supplies us with boxes of their customers’ unwanted cell phones. At a time of tight budgets, these extra funds are a great help to providing programs and services to our older adult community.”

How do I get started?

Cell phone collection is probably one of the easiest fundraising programs you'll participate in. Most cell phone users don’t know what to do with their used cell phones and will be happy to donate their phones to a good cause. All you have to do is ask!

  • Ask your local cell phone store to gather phones from customers
  • Set up a collection at a local business, school, or office
  • Ask for used cell phones from friends and neighbors

What do I do with collected phones?

Once you’ve collected more than 50 phones, visit www.cellularrecycler.com/ncoa to print a pre-paid UPS shipping label. Follow the instructions on the website to properly pack the phones, print a packing slip, and ship the phones for free via UPS. If you have collected less than 50 phones, keep on collecting. With over 500 million used cell phones in the U.S., it won’t be long until you get there!

How do I get paid for phones?

Once you’ve sent in your collected phones, you’ll get a check for their total value within 21 days. All proceeds go directly to your local senior center. Cellular Recycler adds an additional 10% that goes back to NCOA to support senior center initiatives across America. You’ll also receive a detailed statement with your payment, and NCOA receives a monthly statement of all collections.

Does collecting used cell phones really make a difference?

Absolutely! There are over 500 million used cell phones in the U.S. alone, and phones are worth up to $30, depending on the make and model. Old phones can help you provide meals, caregiving support, health promotion activities, and lifelong learning.

What if I get other cellular parts, like chargers and batteries?

Only used cell phones will result in funds for your center and NCOA. However, other parts can be recycled and kept out of landfills. We recommend asking for phones only, so your hard work pays off for your organization.

What happens to the phones?

Collected phones that can’t directly be re-used are recycled for precious metals according to EPA standards. Phones destined for re-use are sold around the world to be refurbished and sold back into global markets. During refurbishment, the memory is flashed to erase all personal data. However, we always recommend that you clear out any sensitive data and remove your SIM card before you recycle your phone.

Are cell phones dangerous when thrown in the garbage?

Yes. Cell phones contain harmful materials like lead and cadmium that are released as phones break down in landfills. These materials can cause cancer and a range of reproductive and developmental disorders even when the materials are released in small quantities, such as leaching into our soil and drinking water from phones buried in landfills.

Where can I get additional support tools?

Please visit www.cellularrecycler.com/ncoa to print additional support tools, like fact sheets and posters.

Thank you for doing your part to keep cell phones out of our nation’s landfills. For more information about this program, please contact Cellular Recycler at 303-258-8888 ext. 3050 or david@cellularrecycler.com.

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