In the AP wire via the San Luis Obispo Tribune
DEXTER, Mich. - With the number of cell phones in use worldwide hitting 2 billion and rising, recycled phones are playing a crucial role in the spread of wireless communications across the developing world, where land lines can be costly or unavailable.
The odds are good that a refurbished cell phone in the pocket of a user in Bolivia, Jamaica, Kenya, Ukraine or Yemen originated with ReCellular Inc. Based in small-town Michigan, ReCellular gets 75,000 used phones a week - most collected in charity fundraisers - and refurbishes them for sale around the world.
ReCellular has more than half the U.S. phone recycling business. Executives say they are doing well for themselves as well as for the March of Dimes and other national charities that benefit from the company's purchase of donated phones.
"The fact that you can combine a business - a profitable business - with a useful service and a charitable good is a win, win, win," said ReCellular Vice President Mike Newman, 32.
Charles Newman, Mike's father, founded the company in 1991 after decades as an entrepreneur in the retail computer business.
The previous Newman business was the Newman Computer Exchange, which refurbished and sold used minicomputers.
UPDATE: More information in this 2006 story on treehugger: American Cell Phone Recycler Creates Win-Win-Win.
Fifteen years ago, while cell phones were still a luxury item, Michigan entrepreneur Charles Newman recognized a business opportunity in those old phones. His company, Recellular, now controls more than half of the US market for used cell phones, and in addition to keeping 75,000 phones a week out of landfills, the company provides affordable wireless communications to residents of developing countries around the world. As most used cell phones are collected either by charitable operations, or on behalf of them by wireless giants such as Sprint and Verizon, these used phones also create another stream of revenue for often strapped non-profits:
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