Phone Recycling Program (Chris Waller)

1. Phone Recycling Program (Chris Waller)

1.1. What

This project, duly named the Phone Recycling Program, aims to promote sustainability and cradle-to-cradle implementation by setting up a web page integrated with the IES housing selection process where students can elect to purchase a used abroad mobile phone for cheaper than they would buy a new one from a store. In my opinion, the chance of having the Phone Recycling Program is a very feasible one, as it only requires the creation of a secondary web-page and a link to it included in the housing application. The web-page would not be a completely new website, but would be just a new page under the IES Online application process. Other feasible options include using a completely separate website, which is not optimal but possible, and also having the program completely offline, taking up headquarters in IES. I will, however, focus on my primary idea, as I feel it is the most solid one.

1.1.1. Similar actions form previous semesters

The most similar program from the previous semester that I found, and that I based some of my program on, was the Electronics Recycle and Reuse Program. What I learned from this previous project is that the creation of a completely separate website, that has nothing to do with the application process, makes it very hard for incoming students to know about it; this severely reduces the chances of a program like this being successful. Another thing is that the more variety of electronics offered, the more complicated the process becomes. I, therefore, decided to work solely on phones and changed the type of website that would be created into one that could be integrated with the housing application process.

1.1.2. SWOT Analysis


  • Monetary incentive
  • Integrated system
  • Ease of use

  • Complicated design
  • Dependence on non-students to organize
  • Web design needed
  • Phone contracts / ID

  • Money making
  • Promote sustainability to students
  • Creation of an integrated system

  • Disorganization / lack of integration
  • No initial investment from IES
  • Student lethargy / unwillingness to sell phones

1.1.3. Feedback loops

My program creates a balancing loop. As every IES Abroad Student must possess a mobile phone while abroad, they purchase new phones at a low price very shortly after arriving. They then proceed to dispose of their phones by throwing them out when they return home. My program aims to turn waste into food, by providing an opportunity for these abroad phones to be reused over and over again. As such, this creates a balancing loop where what would be waste is instead turned in to food.

1.1.4. Advertising

The advertising process for the phone recycling program will be one that has two parts, one on either end of the semester. The first part will commence when the student has had his application to the IES Barcelona program accepted: when submitting his or her forms for housing, they will be offered to buy a pay-as-you-go Spanish phone that had been used in the previous semester. They will also be notified that they can leave their phone, at the end of the semester, at IES and receive money back. The second part will commence towards the end of the program, when e-mails will be sent out every few days reminding students that if they leave their phone at IES before they leave, they will receive $10. No flyers will be used, for two reasons: first, I feel that the e-mails will be more than enough advertising, and are able to reach every student, while with flyers the certainty is not there; second, using flyers would be a waste of paper and not efficient. The person who would handle the money (on the payment to students end) would be the secretary; an Excel sheet will be used to keep track of phones paid for and amount paid, and the total amount paid out would be reflected in both the number of phones physically, and their inclusion on the web page.

E-mail template:

Hello students -

From now until the end of the program, IES will be offering anyone willing to trade in their pay-as-you-go, non-contract phones 10$ in return, as part of the on-going Phone Recycling Program. The program aims to reuse abroad phones, offering them for purchase by incoming students next semester. In this way, we hope to reduce our impact on the environment, while at the same time rewarding students for helping us do so. To turn in your phone from now until the end of the semester, all you need to do is bring your phone and charger to the IES secretary on the first floor and tell her you are looking to participate in the Phone Recycling Program and she will take care of the rest. Participate today to help reduce our environmental footprint, and get paid doing so!

IES Abroad

1.2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?

  • Change in Attitudes (participation in program)
  • Reducing dependency on new phones
  • Ecological footprint reduction.
  • Long term effect on evironment reduced
  • Cradle to cradle design
  • Eco-effective

1.2.1. Potential Benefits

The benefits of this program are threefold: students save money on phones at the beginning of the program and get money back at the end of the program, IES gains money by selling phones, and the less plastic and phone batteries are put into landfills and thus pollute the environment.

1.2.2. Potential Costs

Cash up front from IES to buy phones ($10 per willing student estimate) to be added to the program, online payment from students ($15 per phone bought), money needed to hire someone who can create the phone purchase website and integrate it with the IES online housing process, money needed to hire someone to label each phone with a model at the end of the year and forward a list of phone models to the integrated website creator.

1.3. How

Ideally, this is how the program that I am suggesting would be implemented, and I don't see why it can not be implemented in the real world:

IES would provide money ($500 max) that would be given to the IES office secretary. This 500$ amount is solely an estimate - taking things such as student lethargy and ignorance of IES e-mails, I only expect at most 50 students to participate (50 x 10 = $500). About a week before students are about to leave, e-mails would start to be sent out every day to students saying that if they bring their abroad phones to the secretary at the IES office, they will receive $10 in exchange for it. After this happens, and the students bring in their phones, the phones will be labeled with model numbers and the inventory sent to the website administrator / creator. The phones will be then kept in a box in the IES office. The website creator / administrator will then create an integrated website, or just add a function to the housing application website, where students can buy phones for $15 online. After all the students of the following semester have registered their housing and phone options, a list of what phone each different student has ordered is then compiled either by the website itself or by the website administrator / creator, and sent to the secretary. He/she will then have a list of what kind of phone each student has ordered, and will be able to distribute them accordingly when the students arrive next semester.

1.3.1. "Cradle to Cradle" design

As every IES Abroad Student must possess a mobile phone while abroad, they purchase new phones at a low price very shortly after arriving. They then proceed to dispose of their phones by throwing them out when they return home. My program aims to turn waste into food, by providing an opportunity for these abroad phones to be reused over and over again. This is the cradle - to - cradle design of my program, and the only way that this program could create any sort of waste would be if a phone was too beaten up / broken to be used further.

1.3.2. Questions for the unified survey

1. What mobile phone service do you currently have for your abroad phone?
a. Orange
b. Vodafone
c. Other

2. If IES was to give you a small amount of money (10$) on the last day of your time in Barcelona in return for your abroad mobile phone, would you do it?
a. Yes
b. No

3. Would you be willing to buy a mobile phone from IES that had been used by previous Barcelona students at a cheaper price than the phone would be as new?
a. Yes
b. No

1.3.3. Analysis of the results in the survey

Seeing as the person who sent out the e-mails about the survey attached a broken link to the survey, only three people ended up taking it, and I don't consider this enough to be an accurate representation of the IES student population.

1.3.4. Incentives

The incentives are quite simple, and are threefold: the incentives for students are both to save money on phones and be a part of a sustainable project, the incentives for IES are both to gain money and also be a part of a sustainable project, and the incentives for the people who keep the program up and running (staff) is a slight wage increase, or being paid for their extra efforts.

1.3.5. Relationship with the "Sustainability Club" (SC)

None. Unless the Sustainability Club wanted to help advertise the program, no relationship between my program and the SC would be required.

1.3.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?

Phones will need to be labeled with a model number and the inventory of models and number of models forwarded to the website administrator / creator. They will be put in a box and kept in IES Abroad office until new students arrive at the IES office to pick them up. The website administrator / creator can be either someone proficcient in website maintenance from IES, or an outsourced professional. Both the creation and the subsequent updating of the web page would each take about a day's work, and the person who does this would be payed accordingly.

1.3.7. Who will do what

Students: buy phones online, pick up phones at IES, leave phones at IES at the end of the semester.

Staff member(s): label phones with model numbers at the end of the semester, notify website administrator / creator of number and models of phones, pay students who return their phones at the end of the semester, hand out phones at the beginning of the semester, send out e-mail reminders to students about the program.

Website administrator / creator: create / update website with models and number of phones available, forward list of students who have bought phones (model specific) to IES.

1.3.8. Comparison to similar actions form previous semesters

My program focuses solely on phones; also, the type of website is radically different, as there is no separate website for the program, but one that is integrated into the housing application website.

Previous semester program:
Electronics Recycle and Reuse Program (Hootsman, Gross & Deveau)

1.3.9. Document format

It is my hope that, following the principle of this program, the integrated website used for the display and purchasing of the phones would be one that utilizes FLOSS. In order to advocate for open-source software, I would most advocate using .odt files.

<a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/"><img alt="Creative Commons License" style="border-width:0" src="http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by/3.0/88x31.png" /></a><br />This work is licensed under a <a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/">Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License</a>.

I have chosen a Creative Commons Attribution license for my work, as it is my hope that IES uses this template for commercial purposes. The commercial purposes are required for this program, as the profits will be used for the maintenance of said web page and all that goes into that.

1.4. Time-sheet / Chronogram

Late April: E-mails sent out telling students they can sell back their phones. Spring students return phones to IES, receive $10 per phone returned.

Early May: Phones given model number tag and inventoried. Inventory sent out to website administrator / creator. Phones then stored until fall semester (not possible for summer semester).

May - Website creator / administrator integrates phone purchase in housing application process.

April - Fall students fill out housing application and decide if they want to purchase phones. List created.

August - List of fall students who are buying phones (and what models they are buying) forwarded to secretary.

September - Fall students arrive and pick up their phones from IES abroad offices.

Electronic Recycle and Reuse Program

1.6. Annexes


1.7. Students involved in this action

Chris Waller

Page last modified on Monday 03 of November, 2014 19:15:36