Smart Takes

Recycle your old phone, help improve global healthcare

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Find out how cell phones collecting dust can be put to better use. And with very little effort on your part.

Since 1998, technology -with a particular emphasis on gadgets- has been my beat. And it's a beat I love. Yet if you looked at my personal spending habits, that might be hard to guess. I have fewer reservations about dropping some coin on a fab pair of boots than I do about buying the latest drool-inducing consumer electronics toy.

I like to get my money's worth out of my gadgets. Phones, for example. I drove my Motorola StarTAC into the ground. My Nokia 8210 was a trusty companion until the first gen iPhone came along. I used that first iPhone for four years. Bush was still in office when I got it. I'm just a big believer in 'If it ain't broke, keep using it.' Still, between my husband and I, we have 3 or 4 old cell phones lying around the house. For a while they were the favorite playthings of our toddlers, but these days they settle for nothing less than a fully functional 3G device. During a recent shoot with Josh Nesbit of Medic Mobile, my quandary over what to do with these phones was solved. If you haven't heard of Medic Mobile by the way, watch this video.

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Off-camera, Josh told me about Hope Phones, a campaign that helps facilitate Medic Mobile's work. Hope Phones works with a recycling partner that transfers the value of phones donated to an account, so Medic Mobile can get the mobile technology needed for it's work. All phones welcome (working or not), Hope Phones pays for the shipping and it safely recycles the phones. According to their site, by recycling 1% of the phones that are tossed every year, Medic Mobile can outfit 1 million health workers with the necessary technology to improve the lives of 50 million people.

I don't think my 2 and 4 year olds are going to miss that Nokia 8210.

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Sumi Das

Chief Correspondent

Chief Correspondent Sumi Das has been a correspondent for SmartPlanet since 2008. Previously, she worked as a correspondent for CNN and MSNBC. Between 1998 and 2003, she was producer and host of "Fresh Gear" on TechTV. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. She resides in San Francisco. Disclosure