I have just begun to do research for my project with Genna. We are trying to collect used/old cell phones, specifically newer models with cameras, to give to the students at Sherman Indian High School for their video workshops. I began researching to find similar activist projects and have not come across a project that is as specific as ours. There are A LOT of recycling/refurbishing projects out there that you can find online. Some of these projects just rely on the funds gained from recycling phones while others actually use the phones for some cause. I will provide some links below of what I have found.

But while reading through some of these websites I have also read a lot about the environmental effect of cell phones. I guess in the back of my mind I knew that it must not be a good thing for these phones to end up in landfills, but since that is something I am not confronted with everyday it is not something that I have actually put into perspective.

People keep cell phones for a pretty short amount of time before they upgrade to the newer model. Where do all the old phones go?

I currently have an iPhone 5. It is my 7th cell phone, first “smart phone”. My mom and dad are probably on their 5th phones. My brother has gone through 4-5. My sister about 3. And my youngest sister just got her first phone. SOMEWHERE in my house there is a drawer filled with many outdated phones. Before my youngest sisters got their own phones they would use our old ones as play phones which is why we kept them instead of throwing them away. Although I recognize the privilege in having a drawer full of old phones at home, I know that my family is probably one of many who have/have had a similar drawer at home.

I did not realize the greater environmental impact I was contributing to because of my cell phone use. But I think that goes for many things in my life. Unless it is constantly confronting you straight on it is really hard to be conscious of the environmental impact of everything you do and take part in, and that goes way beyond just cell phone usage.

I am eager to get people on board with donating old iPhone’s and other phones with decent cameras because not only will it directly benefit and bring access to the students at Sherman, it will also aid in a larger environmental project.

Here are some links:

Cell Phones for Soldiers

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Secure the Call

A Video: The Secret Life of Cell Phones

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About alexamuniz

Media Studies major at Scripps College '16.

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