Founded in 1991, the Recellular’s Ann Arbor warehouse recycles a whopping 4 million mobile phones a year and ten thousand used phones on a daily basis. These phones are donated to cell phones for soldiers and other charity programs.
The recycled mobiles don’t go directly to the soldiers as the name would suggest, but rather the phones are sold and the profits of which go towards buying calling cards for the soldiers. To give the soldiers locked down handsets whilst they are out fighting battles in dangerous countries, would be an unwise idea but to give them calling cards would mean they can speak to loved ones when they are safe and free to do so. Not only does this help the soldiers who may be feeling homesick but it also gives peace of mind to their loved ones who get to hear from them and find they are safe and healthy.
The world unites for this worthy cause as the company adds a new flag to their collection of flags in their warehouse every time they employ somebody from another country. Currently they display flags from the likes of countries such as Brazil, Puerto Rico, Algeria, Mali, Poland and Great Britain, to name a few. The flags represent global impact because even though the warehouse is based in America, recycling mobile phones is an issue that affects, in essence, the world. The mobile phones that are not recycled are usually abandoned and left to rot in a landfill site somewhere, poisoning the soil with their hazardous materials and adding to an already large amount of electrical waste.
Chuck Newman, the brains behind the program comments:
“In the capitalistic system, in the marketplace, the people decide what they need or want. It’s awfully hard to impose upon them, saying, “You don’t really need that.” We have the right to get a phone that’s smaller and a prettier colour if we want. And I think it’s pretty clear that there are enormous economic and health benefits to populations having access to communications.”
He believes that technology can cure a person of poverty, by helping create a profitable business and the ease of communication is beneficial to all, providing people with valuable information e.g to give people of LEDC weather warnings perhaps to help save more lives. Our old mobile phone may not be of much use to us anymore, but to someone, somewhere on the other side of the world, it could be life-changing.