Students recycle phones for contest

If Lowell High School students like Boys Like Girls, they had better like collecting cell phones too.

The school’s juniors have the chance to win a private performance by the pop-rock group, along with $10,000 to go toward the class’ graduation next year — if they beat out nine other high schools across the nation that are also collecting used cell phones for recycling.

The challenge is sponsored by LG Mobile Phones, which asked high schools across the nation to apply for the chance to compete. The idea is to educate students about the need to recycle phones and other e-waste, according to the company.

About 10 percent of cell phones are recycled each year, but the remaining 130 million are improperly discarded, she said. For every 100 tons of phones that are recycled, about 60 metric tons of carbon dioxide remain unreleased, the equivalent of the emissions of about 350,000 gallons of gasoline, the company said.

Lowell junior Erin Ng, public relations officer for the school’s student government, said the school has been collecting phones for a few weeks. She said she doesn’t know exactly how many phones have been collected so far because they are placed in closed bins.

Even if the class doesn’t win, the junior class will still receive $2 per cell phone collected.

She said she scouted around her family’s house and came up with a few used phones. Even Principal Andrew Ishibashi said he found a couple at home to recycle.

“We’ve been announcing it, we’ve sent out messages via Facebook, we did this whole event to talk about electronic waste,” Ng said. “A lot of people don’t know about the electronic waste that goes on — some people even just throw away their phones.”

Students finished collecting phones Friday and now await the outcome of the competition. LG has not set a date to announce a winner.

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