Cellphone Recycling Benefits Schools

November 16, 2004 1 min read

Can you hear me now?

For hundreds of schools participating in a cellphone- recycling program, the answer is a resounding yes.

Nearly 6,000 school and community organizations have signed on with EcoPhones, an Addison, Texas-based company founded in 2001. The company, which aims to help ease the burden of technological waste, encourages schools to run fund-raising programs that urge parents and community members to recycle their old cellphones.

The schools gather used working and nonworking cellphones and send them to EcoPhones, which pays all shipping fees and gives the schools up to $100 per phone, although most phones range from $5 to $25. The company then repairs the phones and resells them to low-income users and organizations in Mexico and other developing countries. Any phones that are useless are dismantled and recycled according to federal environmental regulations.

One school in Coppell, Texas, collected more than 3,000 phones and made $10,000.

Most schools use the money to support community programs and philanthropic causes, according to Walter Engelbrecht, the company’s chief executive officer.

EcoPhones also often donates the phones it receives to organizations that help those in need, Mr. Engelbrecht said.

Cellphones contain several toxic substances—including copper, arsenic, and zinc—all of which can leach into the soil of landfills and eventually contaminate the water supply.

The average cellphone user replaces his or her phone every 12 to 16 months, according to Mr. Engelbrecht.

An estimated 100 million cellphones will be retired annually by 2005 in the United States alone, according to a report by INFORM Inc., a New York City-based nonprofit organization that promotes ideas to keep the environment clean.

A version of this article appeared in the November 17, 2004 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read