Courses / Cellphone Recycling by Mike Miller, Angela Thoma, Jeremy Martin, Zach Pfluger

1. What is the action

This action encourages current students to recycle their temporary cellphones that they bought here in Spain. At the end of the semester when the students will be returning back to the United States, we want to encourage them to hand their cellphones in to IES so future students will be able to use those cellphones. This eliminates unnecessary waste caused by students throwing these cellphones out when they no longer need them, and it also economically helps out the future students. They will not have to go to a store and purchase a new "used" phone, they will be supplied by IES as hand-me-downs from previous semesters. There will be flyers that will be hung around the floors of IES, as well as boxes on the first floor of IES where students will be able to drop off their cellphones.

1.1. Why this action makes things more sustainable?

This action makes things more sustainable for IES because it is based off the idea of cradle-cradle design. Instead of future IES students having to buy their own cheap disposable phone that they will most likely throw away at the end of the semester, IES can provide students with a previously used phone from a past semester. This can reduce wasting up to 300 cell phones each semester. Less phones will be purchased, and therefore less phones will be thrown away. This could also provide a change in attitude for students to be more inclined to waste less and to help other students. This could be a long term effect if the cell phones continue to be recycled year after year.

1.2. "Cradle to Cradle" design

This design is indeed cradle to cradle ready. It focuses on all three of the traditional guidelines for sustainability as well as the added-on guideline: redesign. By providing incoming students with used cell phones, it reduces the amount of waste that could have been incurred by students just throwing away their phones instead. Because it is a used cell phone, students will be reusing the product over and over again until one student finally decides to throw it away, or potentially recycle it. This project does not focus on the recycling guideline as much, because it intends to keep the cell phones in a cycle of reuse. This project could also be seen as a redesign. In the past students would have been instructed to purchase a cell phone upon arrival to Barcelona, but this project would provide students with a used cell phone thus causing less waste. This would avoid the unnecessary consumption of resources (more cellphones) by reusing old ones.

1.3. Similar Actions from Previous Semesters

2012b Fall Actions: Recycling Used Electronics:
This designed action is very similar to ours. We are trying to encourage students to hand in their used cell phones that they bought here in Barcelona, so they can be used by the students in the upcoming semesters.
We noticed that they only advertised via email. Email is a great way to save paper and deliver an advertisement almost instantly, but it is not permanent. A student could simply just delete the email, and never be exposed to the advertisement again. Constant exposure to the advertisement will most likely draw people in to participate in the program. We would send an email out to all of the students as well as put up flyers on the IES floors. We will use our printing cards that IES gave us to print the flyers out.
We noticed that they planned to use a previously established website to specify what types of items they will be recycling and a date/time they will be dropping them off at the IES center. We did not think of this at first, and will try to find this website to see if we find it efficient and necessary to use it.
Also we realized that student may want/need these cellphones until a couple hours before they depart to go back home. This will discourage them from dropping them off at the IES center, which is why the option to leave the cellphones in their apartment, homestay, or dorm is very logical. The RA’s could then collect them and return them to IES after the students leave them behind.

1.3.1. Why This or a Similar Action Didn’t Succeed in Previous Years?

We feel like the overall executions are not as strong as they should be in order to really make this program work. The plans are detailed and seem to be well put together, but when it comes time to implement it, there needs to be more aggressive actions to actually receive the cell phones and SIM cards.
We feel word of mouth is a great way to keep reminding people to hand in their cell phones at the end of the semester and to remind them to plan accordingly.

2. Implementation

2.1. The action:

Implementing this action first requires raising awareness within the student body. This step consists of hanging posters around the IES building as well as sending an email to the student population. Additionally, there will be a post written in the study abroad facebook group. The flyers, emails, and face-book post will direct students to donate their used cell phones at the end of the semester. Students can place their cellphones and Sim-card information, which includes their pin and cell-number, in a drop-box located at the front desk.

2.2. Troubleshooting

The previous students wanted to create a website to keep track of the inventory. However, this proved complicated since no one possessed adequate ability in web-design. To counteract this problem the design was simplified. Instead we provide a sign in sheet when dropping off the used cellphone, which requires the donating party to list the pin and cellphone number. It also allows us to keep track of how many cellphones have been donated, while having all the necessary information to allow for the continued use of the cellphone.
2.3. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?__

After this system is implemented, IES can send out an email each semester reminding to study abroad students to drop off their phones at the end of the semester. The implementation itself is not the difficult part in the process; the most difficult process is getting the word out there. By encouraging IES to send out this email before the end of the semester, it will ensure that every student is sufficiently informed. The students who benefit from the phone at the beginning of the semester will know the concept and hopefully return the favor by implementing it for yet another semester. This concept in turn can easily be reused and implemented semester to semester.

3. Bibliography

Cell Phone Picture Source:

4. Other References

5. Annexes
Image Cellphone Flyer

5.1. Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all of the other groups in the past semesters for doing their research and allowing us to analyze and implement their old actions.

5.2. Students involved in this action

Zach Pfluger, Mike Miller, Angela Thoma, Jeremy Martin. There was no appointed leader, we all contributed equally and worked very well together.

Page last modified on Monday 24 of February, 2014 19:33:20