No More Good Intentions

Eoghan is a UX Designer at Graphic Mint.

We want positive actions.

Today marks the launch of the Graphic Mint mobile phone drive, with all of the profits raised going directly to the Jack & Jill foundation. The drive will last for the remainder of March, with a get together and a raffle in the Bernard Shaw at the end of the month.

Graphic Mint default image placeholder

Who are Jack & Jill?

The Jack & Jill foundation are a charity that provide direct funding to the families of children that require intensive home nursing care. You can read more about their mission here…

So what’s the plan?

The goal is to collect as many unused, and unloved mobile phones, and other electronics people have gathering dust (see full list here), and recycle/re-purpose them. This in turn, frees you from all the stuff that’s been cluttering up your life; is environmentally sound, and goes towards raising badly needed funds for a great cause.

As an added bonus, everyone who donates something, will be entered into a raffle, which will be held on the 30th of March. Prizes will be announced on the run up to the event. If you don’t have an old phone to give, you can enter the raffle by texting a fiver to Jack and Jill on the night.

We won’t be engaging in guilt tactics. This is about raising awareness of the charity, engaging with the community, and encouraging positive actions, not about putting anyone on the spot.

Where did this idea originate?

In order to do something original to celebrate St.Patrick’s day, we wanted to take something associated with the holiday and twist the meaning on it slightly. Green is synonymous to this holiday, but it also holds quite a few other connotations.

To go green on St.Patrick’s day is to be Irish. On any other day, going green might conjure up the image of recycling. This lead us to thinking about sustainability, and from there an idea began to germinate.

At it’s most basic level, sustainability is about the long term collective responsibility people have to the planet. This is a massive topic, with many factors and dimensions, that I am not really equipped to address. But lets focus on Ireland’s production of e-waste briefly.

According to the the 2010 National Waste report, Ireland produced just over 45,000 tonnes of electronic waste. Just under half of this, a little over 21,000 tonnes, was shipped abroad. That averages to over 8 kg of electronic waste per person, which is about double the target of 4 kg per person specified by the WEEE Directive.

The problem with this electronic waste, is that it is not only difficult to manage, treating it can be a very dangerous procedure. There are lots of nasty, noxious, harmful things in old computer monitors (nasty contaminants like lead, beryllium, and cadmium). The fact that nearly half of the e-waste we produce, is being shipped abroad, is worrying. Without making any wild accusations, it begs the question of where the waste goes?

The real challenge is not the idea. It’s getting the idea off the ground.

I tend to put things off. I like to think of it as a mental bucket list that just keeps growing. I will get to the items on my list, but I haven’t exactly decided when.

Often, with the ideas on this bucket list, the scope is too big and frightening to tackle by myself; either I don’t have the time; or something else comes along that is more urgent, more creatively appealing, realistic, or financially lucrative.

When it comes to re-purposing my old stuff, I could be doing more. I always intend to recycle the things I don’t use, but more often than not, I don’t seem to get around to it. A case of good intentions, but ultimately, no action.

The problem with this.

Although these ideas get relegated to the back of my mind, they don’t really go away. They seem to surface again, coming back to me like bad pennies, and leaving me feeling what could only be described as a pang of mild guilt.

So how do you fight this torturous procrastination?

Well, we could stick our heads in the sands, like ostriches never did, and ignore the problem. That’s the easy route – figuratively speaking – literally sticking your head in the sand would be incredibly uncomfortable.

Alternatively, we can look at the problem we are trying to solve, and break it down into manageable chunks. From there we can develop a list of requirements, and turn these seemingly mammoth challenges into doable tasks.

Figuring out the hows.

We want to do a mobile phone drive, so it makes sense that we start from home. Last night I had a quick rummage through the cupboards, drawers and presses in my house, and found 5 old mobile phones, 2 old cameras, and one broken ipod.

By themselves, these items may not make a significant difference. But, lets imagine for a moment, how we would fare if we got others involved, starting with the people we already know. Nowadays, thanks to social networking, we are each connected with literally hundreds of people at any one time. It’s time to call in favours, and use crowd sourcing the way it was supposed to be used.

By giving people a venue and a deadline; adding the extra incentive of the raffle prizes, we aim to leverage the power of our community.

If we can get 100 people to do a quick look around the house, and they turn up even half the bounty I discovered on my search we could collect 250 phones.

Suddenly the number is a little more impressive, but what does it mean in real terms?

Well, to the Jack and Jill foundation, 250 phones equates to one months nursing care for a family with a sick child. Any working phones get refurbished and shipped to developing countries, which extends their usage life. All broken phones are recycled using correct environmental methods, and the people who donate the phones get to do a good deed at no real cost to themselves.

Good news all round then.