We all know about the junk in the trunk, but what about the junk in the drawer?
Fitness trackers are constantly being updated with new, exciting features that we can’t seem to live without, leading many of us to upgrade … and send the old fitness trackers into the abyss of our desks and dresser drawers. So where can you send a perfectly fine, but not-super-current fitness tracker while also doing something nice for a fellow human?
Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM, an assistant professor at Tufts University of Medicine Department of Public Health and Community Medicine had several fitness trackers taking up space in her junk drawer as she upgraded over the years. Knowing how much she appreciated the information from even the most basic activity monitors, Lisa wondered what kind of impact wearables would have on populations less likely to own them, such as low-income, racial/ethnic minorities and senior populations.
And just like that, she created RecycleHealth, which gives a second life to wearables. By simply donating your discarded gear, you can help someone else who could really use that tech but would never buy one for themselves.
“Through my research I knew that a third of all users of fitness trackers quit after six months of wearing them. I thought, ‘What if we were to give those trackers [to people] who could really benefit from them but could not afford to buy a new one?’” said Lisa. She created a Facebook page in no time and hit the ground running.
RecycleHealth has collected over 500 trackers so far and is setting up a series of studies to begin this summer. Eventually the plan is to expand the program to help veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Program coordinator Sandra Rosenbluth, one of Lisa’s former students, helps with everything from finding the right group of recipients for the trackers to working with retail outlets who want to partner with the charity. One of the biggest retailers right now is Macy’s in New York’s Herald Square. If you buy a new fitness tracker there, they give you a mailing label to send in your old one.
Sandra created a spiffy one for all FBGs everywhere which you can find here. And remember, because it is a 501 (c)(3) charity, your donation is tax deductible! You might even want to include a note saying how you heard about RecycleHealth — Lisa and Sandra love learning about where all those wearables come from.
How long have you been wearing fitness trackers? Why do you think so many people give up on them within six months? —Margo