Motorola today announced the "Race to Recycle," a first-of-its-kind fund-raising effort by a leading mobile-phone manufacturer to connect community involvement, classroom experience, and environmental awareness.
The core objective of the Race to Recycle is to help schools raise money for scholastic and extra-curricular activities. Any accredited K-12 school in the United States is eligible to earn cash by collecting mobile phones that people no longer use. Motorola will accept mobile phones made by any manufacturer -- as long as the handsets are physically intact. Specific guidelines about acceptable mobile phones are available at http://www.motorola.com/racetorecycle .
"The Race to Recycle is a really cool, really compelling way to help Motorola give back to the community," said Ron Garriques, president of Motorola Mobile Devices. "Our approach will combine classroom learning with student action to ensure that kids see the direct benefit of their involvement and efforts."
Around the world, more than 1.7 billion people use mobile phones as their primary means of communication -- and every second of every day about 23 new mobile handsets roll off the world's assembly lines. As a result, mobile phones have become as ubiquitous as newspapers -- a traditional target for school recycling drives -- but mobile handsets are easier for students to collect and recycle. And, at $3 per in-tact handset collected, the payback from Motorola is compelling as well.
"As we developed the Race to Recycle, we wanted to ensure a high-quality experience that delivered meaningful results for education and kids, for the environment, and for the wireless industry," said Chip Yager, director of business development for Customer Service within Motorola Mobile Devices.
"We launched the pilot program in September 2004, and feedback from participants has been very positive," Yager added. "Schools and students really like the simplicity. Schools get cash and fewer mobile phones enter the waste stream, which is good for the environment. For Motorola, the clear upside benefit to schools and the environment also makes good business sense."
Schools participating in the Race to Recycle will receive $3.00 per intact phone -- earning a maximum of $21,000 per calendar year, which would require the collection of 7,000 intact mobile phones. Additionally, Motorola is developing a multi-grade educational component for teachers to use in the classroom -- enabling teachers to combine theory and application for a complete educational experience.
John L. Husmann Elementary in Crystal Lake, Illinois, participated in the pilot launch. The school's 500-strong student body raised nearly $1,500, which the school has used to purchase new overhead projectors for its classrooms.
"We think it's great that Motorola takes an active interest in cell phone recycling," said Linda Corteen, Principal of John L. Husmann Elementary School. "Our school couldn't have been more pleased to participate in the pilot program."
The Race to Recycle's finish line target is the collection of 1,000,000 mobile phones by the end of the 2004-2005 school year. Schools wanting to get involved can get started by visiting http://www.motorola.com/racetorecycle to register their school and get specifics about program guidelines.
More ways to recycle
In addition to the Race to Recycle, Motorola makes it easy for consumers to recycle mobile phones that they no longer use. The following two options are provided at no cost to consumers:
1. Pre-paid postage packets, which will be included with many of Motorola's new mobile-phone models. Consumers simply insert their old mobile phone in the provided packet and drop it in the mail. The mobile phone is sent directly to Motorola for recycling.
2. Printable pre-paid postage shipping labels, which are available at http://www.motorola.com/racetorecycle. By affixing the label to a packet or box, consumers can ship back their unwanted mobile phones (up to 70 pounds) to be recycled.
A portion of proceeds from both of these methods goes back to the schools participating in the Race to Recycle.