Website Recycles Phones for Cancer Research

Give Back Wireless can help consumers make money, help the planet and fund research

By Greg Bledsoe
|  Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012  |  Updated 9:28 PM PDT
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Website Recycles Phones for Cancer Research

NBC 5

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Website Recycles Phones for Cancer Research

Jon Engels from Give Back Wireless tells NBC 7 reporter Greg Bledsoe about how people can recycle their phones for a good cause.
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Here's a Green Week tip that can not only help you make money and help the planet, but also help find a cure for cancer too.

You'd be hard pressed to find an office with a larger, or more random collection of cell phones.

But collecting old phones is exactly what Jon Engels does. He has collected nearly 100,000 for Give Back Wireless, a website which allows people to trade in their old cell phones to help fund cancer research.

It's a win-win for both the donors and the receivers.

"It's kind of like, 'can we please give you cash for something you don't use anymore?'" Engels said.

Cash is a much better option than trash too, he added.

"That goes into our landfill and there's lithium in the batteries," Engels said. "And one person's trash is another person's treasure."

Here's how the website works: Enter the type of phone you have, the condition it's in and get a quote. The website makes an offer.

Most old phones will only fetch a few dollars, but they can fixed up and given new life all over the world.

"In China, in India, in Africa, all around the world, there's no more land lines being put up," Engels said. "So there could be a person in the outskirts of Africa or India who needs a phone. Now, they probably can't afford the type of phone that we can afford, but they're willing to purchase a phone that's used."

But it's not all about business. Jon is also a cancer survivor. He partnered up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Boxes in about 90 San Diego schools now collect old phones with the money going to cancer research.

"And it's just a great way for students in the community to go green get rid of e-waste, but at the same time, bring awareness about blood cancer."

It's valuable, but only for so long. You should cash in sooner rather than later.

"You actually have something of value and the longer it sits in the drawer, the less and less value it has."

And according to the company's website, more than 200 million cell phones go out of service in this country every year, and less than 8 percent of them are recycled or refurbished.

For more information, visit the company's website.
 

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