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HopeLine logoOld cell phones are one of those things in life that just get forgotten — they’re shoved into a kitchen drawer with their coiled chargers, or laid to rest in the crevices of an office. After a run-in with the washing machine or the toilet, sometimes they just get thrown away.

After a while, it’s like they never existed in the first place.

As this year’s Earth Day (April 22) rolls around, Verizon’s HopeLine program offers a new future for old cell phones by asking people to donate them by way of mail, Verizon Wireless store drop-boxes and community drives.

In exchange, Verizon will donate cash grants to domestic violence aid organizations, give working cell phones and free minutes to victims of domestic violence, and facilitate the safe disposal of old devices.

Old cell phones. Photo via David Ohmer
Old cell phones. Photo via David Ohmer

Beginning in 2001, Verizon Wireless launched the Hopeline program with a dual focus of offering vital communication services to victims of domestic violence and keeping dangerous electronic materials out of national landfills. Since its inception, the project has donated about 106,000 devices to victims of domestic violence and given $10 million in cash grants to aid agencies across the country. They estimate the project has saved about 210 tons of electronic waste from ending up in landfills.

Last year, Washington’s program collected around 22,000 phones, donating cash funds and devices to aid agencies including Vashon Island’s Dove Project, Seattle’s Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services, and the Family Support Center in Olympia.

HopeLine carries out the project year round, using annual events like Earth Day as friendly reminders. The national effort accepts any device, regardless of its condition or network. Donations can be made at any Verizon Wireless store, mailed like this, or given to local community drives that pop-up intermittently during the year.

Compared to the cell phone graveyard in your kitchen drawer, donating your old flip phone this weekend isn’t a bad option.

Previously on GeekWire: Verizon wants to buy Clearwire spectrum for $1.5B

Alisa Reznick is a University of Washington student working as an editorial intern at GeekWire this quarter. Reach her at or on Twitter@AlisaReznick.

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