Courses / Cellphone Recycle Program (Julia, Peter, Stephen, Sebastián)

Cell Phone Recycle Program

Julia Harrison, Sebastián Sagramoso, Stephen Sosa, Peter Sholley

Executive Summary

The IES phone recycling program works to positively change the way in which IES students purchase and use cell phones during their semester abroad. We are working to create a sustainable program that makes it easier for students to purchase their abroad cell phones off of previous students for a lower, more affordable price than the ones offered in stores. The goal of the program is to reuse as opposed to throw away old cell phones used by IES students, minimize the amount of money students spend on these phones, and even raise a marginal chunk of money for IES in the process.

Our program would ideally be implemented by the end of the fall 2013 semester. This would allow next semester’s students to re-use the cell phones that our semester has already purchased. These numbers are off top, but, let’s say IES purchases the phones off of the students for $10, and sells them back to students at a cost of $15. IES would be acting like a local business by reusing the students’ cell phones rather than forcing students to purchase new cell phones from larger corporations. All phones that are not functioning at the time of the buy-back will be discarded. We’re hoping to make a sustainable change in the way IES students purchase their cell phones!

Peter Sholley
CEO, Cell Phone Recycle Program

1. What is the Action

The action of is project is to construct and carry out a program in which past IES students recycle their old phones and then those old phones are reused through IES’s website. Those phones will be available through a sustainable website’s inventory page. IES should lease these phones at a discounted price than the original cost of the phone. Students will be invited at the end of each semester studying at IES to place their phones, adapters, with other phones in to the “Cell Phone Recycling Drop Box”.

1.1 Why Does this Action Make Things More Sustainable?


IES becomes like a “LOIS” or “Local Ownership and Import Substantiation”. IES will be taking old cellphones and giving them to future students in this program. This program contributes to IES’s local study abroad program and making students avoid going to big corporation stores such as Corte Ingles or the Vodafone store to buy phones.


Students will invest their own cellphones at the end of the semester to IES’s Cell Phone Recycling Program. IES will then take these cellphones and reuse them back into society (future IES students). This program will create sustainable outcomes; such as profits and returns that may be used for new sustainability programs, and enhanced quality of life.


In this production cycle, students will purchase a cellphone and use it as a product, this product will be used as a product continuously and continuously. This is sustainable because without IES’s program, students will throw the cell phones away and this product will not be able to be recycled back into the production cycle. When a cellphone is no longer able to be used again it is thrown away in the trash and not recycled. This is because recycling bins or recycling centers do not recycle products like cell phones, they recycle the parts in cellphones. However, it’s not even feasible for the average student to pull apart the parts of a cell phone in order for it be recycled. Therefore, IES’s Cell Phone Recycle Program will create a more sustainable environment and better the world.

1.2 Cradle to Cradle Design and Reuse of Materials and Waste

Sustainability Guidelines

1. Reduce
2. Reuse
3. Recycle
4. Redesign

1.2.1 Reduce

The action plan would primarily implement the most important, and ultimate goals, of “Cradle to Cradle” design techniques and sustainability in general. The first and most important “R” represents the reduction in the amount of product and materials being used and “bad”waste being created. By implementing this action plan we greatly, if not completely, eliminate student’s demand for new cellphones. This system thus avoids the use of all materials involved in making the phone.
These include:

· Plastics, glass, rare earth metals and more waste that cannot be reused easily. Most of these materials do not work well with the “Waste=Food” approach to up-cycling.

· The demand for more raw materials, like those used for the creation of materials in the product.

· Fossil fuels and their pollution, used in transportation of raw materials and finished product, as well as extraction of these materials and the factory production of the phone.

On the side of IES and the implementation of the action by students, e-mail makes sharing this information quick, personal, and essentially waste-free. For advertisement of the system, no paper is necessary; IES can simply send out informative emails to all of its current students, and provide the program’s information and instructions easily and accessibly on the website.

1.2.2 Reuse and Recycle

Reusing is the basis of our action plan. By reusing the products, we avoid wasting the used materials as well as consuming new ones for the production of these phones. In other phone recycling systems, phones are often taken apart for their parts that can be used in the production of a new phone, inevitably resulting in the waste of the other parts that are not functional. The design of our action plan means that the entire device will be reused and avoid any new consumption.
The only part of our action plan that relies on physical material is the box used for cell phone drop-off. We are using a cardboard shoe box, simply reusing the box with new purpose. At the same time, the cardboard box is made of mostly recycled paper product, further increasing the sustainability of the project.

1.2.3 Redesign

This project redesigns the cell phone use habit of abroad students, as well as phone recycling systems. Such a system could be consistently used by abroad programs, saving money and materials that are currently used very frequently in the demand for temporary phones created by students studying abroad. The process conforms exactly with the general goals of “Cradle to Cradle” production and “waste=food” design; no new materials, no new waste, re-used products.
Unlike other recycling programs that tend to only function with down-cycling, the phone reusing program allows us to simply prolong the life of the product, not changing it at all. In order to work sustainably, even already-existent recycle programs can adapt to be more efficient and less wasteful.

1.3 Similar Actions from Previous Semesters

The previous actions that we have decided to implement are all actions that have to do with creating a website that recycles and sells bargain cellphones through IES.
These Similar Actions include:
http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/Cell+Phone+Recycle+-+Christine%2C+Diana?structure=2012b+Fall+Actions http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/Phone+Recycling+Program+%28Chris+Waller%29?structure=2012a+Spring+Actions

1.3.1 Why This or a Similar Action Didn´t Succeed in Previous Semesters?

These actions didn’t succeed because of two main reasons. The first reason is that the directors of IES have trouble gaining the rights to resell phones back to the future students in IES. This is because when a student buys a phone through a phone company such as Orange, Vodafone, or Movistar, there is a small transaction fee paid by the student that gives that student the right to use that particular phone. The second reason these actions didn’t succeed is because of their weak marketing strategy. According to IES directors, the previous actions have been introduced to IES, but were not successful because of their poor marketing strategy. IES claims that the most phones they have received are up to 5 from previous students.

2. Implementation

In order to implement this project we would need cooperation from the IES students and faculty alike. There would need to be extensive help from the IES faculty to help with the implementation of this proposal.
To implement the steps that must be taken are as follows:
1. The first step in this project is to alert the student body of this project. Flyers will be made to alert students of this program. The students need to sell back their phones to IES at the end of the semester in order for this proposal to work. This would mean an initial start up fee to purchase the phones as mentioned in the proposal. IES would need to be willing to take on this original fee in order to make long-term profit.
2. Create a prototype. Which in our case is a box to collect the phones at the end of the semester.
3. An IES faculty member would need to update the sustainability clubs website ( www.iesgogreen.seeds4c.org/invetory ). An IES faculty member would need to take all the collected phones and update the website in order to alert students what phones are readily available.
3.a Step three could be done by one of our group members so long as it happens before the departure date.
4. Finally students can purchase these new phones upon arrival to IES Barcelona.

2.1 The Action

We have created a box for the phones to be dropped off. (Please refer to picture in Annex section).

We have created a brochure to alert the student body. (Please refer to picture in Annex section).

And the inventory page on the website is created and waiting to be updated by either an administrator student at the end of the semester.

2.2 Troubleshooting

LegalityAfter speaking with Cesar the program director there are certain laws & regulations that must be followed in order to implement this proposal. A pecuniary transaction like this would create an illegal transaction under Spanish law. Unless VAT is paid on those transactions and the transactions recorded this cannot legally be implemented. So solution is to pay the VAT and record these transactions. Or an alteration would need to be made to program. Possibly make the phones a donation based program. Students making original donations would face a sunk cost in the phone but once enough phones were donated students would have no cost. The downside to this is no revenue is generated, which was the hope to finance future sustainability programs.
Student & IES Cooperation Students would need to be willing to participate in this program. Through a strong marketing campaign we could advocate for the implementation of this program. IES would need to be willing to update the website/ inventory page created. We could help by collecting the phones and possibly updating the page for IES staff if the collection was made a week or so before departure.
Dependency on IES Staff to PublicizeIES was very helpful in their response to our proposal for implantation. Cesar allowed us to pass out brochures and advocate for this plan. He offered advice on how to make this possible and ways of contacting students.

2.3 How Will This Action be Sustained When You are Not Here?

IES will play a vital role in making sure this action is sustained when we are no longer here. There are two main functions that IES will need to maintain after our departure. The first will be to continually update the inventory on the website. They will need to consistently update the availability of the different types of phones. Other sustainability classes playing an active role could ease this responsibility. Future classes could take on and continue this project by updating the website for IES. The second main function that needs be taken on will be continued advertising. IES will need to make students aware of this project several times throughout the semester. Once before students arrive alerting them of the program. Once upon arrival. And once at the end of the semester so students remember to turn in the phones.

3. Document Format

Microsoft Office Suite was used to construct the implementation of this project. Microsoft Publisher was used to create the brochure. Google Drive was used to collaborate with our team members.

4. Bibliography

The following websites were used in completion of this project:


5. Other References

The following websites are pictures that were using in completion of the brochure:


6. Annexes

1. Cell Phone Drop Box Image:

2. Brochure Document: Cellphone Recycle.pub

6.1 Acknowledgements

Thank you to to Cesar Algera for his guidance and input with this project.

6.2 Students Involved in This Action

Stephen Sousa: Collaborated with other team members to implement our action. I spoke with Cesar for help/recommendations/clarification on specific information relating to our action. Also completed steps 2-2.3 . As well as review and contributing to other aspects of our project.

Sebastián Sagramoso: Worked with team members to choose and implement the program. Completed the parts in 1.2, and offered insight and review of several facets of project as well as general formatting of paper.

Julia Harrison: The official leader of this project. I created the source of communication amongst the team and helped organize separation of duties. Also creating a location to collaborate all our the team´s ideas into one. I purchased and created the materials needed to implement this action. I also created the brochure of the action to advertise the program. I also completed steps 1.,1.1,1.3, & 3.

Peter Sholley:

Page last modified on Monday 21 of October, 2013 17:05:21