Departure Bay Elementary Eco-School students Carly Sigmundson, left, Alex Nelson, Marcus Bertrand and Helena Cowles check out the variety of smartphones and flip phones that have been donated so far for an environmental initiative and fundraiser. (CHRIS BUSH/News Bulletin)

Departure Bay Eco-School students calling for old cellphones

Grade 7 students at Nanaimo school taking part in Recycle My Cell Earth Month Challenge

Departure Bay Elementary Eco-School students are calling on the community, asking for old cellphones to help them in a green competition.

Grade 7 students are in the midst of the Recycle My Cell Earth Month Challenge, with the assistance of Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, diverting old devices from the landfill. The association is paying postage on the “disused cellphones,” according to Donna Falconer, an eco-school parent, who submitted the application.

The top school in each province and territory will be awarded $500 from the association and all schools will also receive $1 per device, with a maximum combined prize payment of $1,000.

“They can be functioning or not functioning, pagers, doesn’t matter how old they are. All of that kind of stuff, but not iPods and tablets, and we package them all up on April 30 and send them in,” Falconer said.

Departure Bay Grade 7 students are currently fundraising for elementary school graduation, said Falconer, and would like to have extra funds in order to create a legacy garden to complement the one already at the school.

A minimum of 20 phones must be collected, and that number has been met.

“We have a bucket of about 30 cellphones at the moment. We are certainly willing to accept additional cellphones and we have ones that look like they are sort of originals and we have iPhones,” said Falconer. “A few of them are pretty smashed up, or missing batteries, so it doesn’t matter what condition they are in.”

Annette Noble, Departure Bay school principal, is proud of her students and said the cellphone drive is only one of many green projects students are working on.

“Well it fits in well with our other Earth Day activities,” said Noble. “We’re doing the plastic bag grab right now and we’re also going to be selling reusable grocery bags with reusable produce bags inside, so this is just another … initiative.”

Devices will be accepted during school hours until Tuesday, April 30. Chargers, ear bud headphones and batteries are also being accepted, although the school won’t receive money for those accessories, said Falconer.

For more information, e-mail For more information on the challenge, go to

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