Every year Americans spend billions of dollars on electronic gadgets many of which will be obsolete before they reach their first anniversary.
Purchasing the next, newest or coolest replacement means we shove older, fully functional items into a drawer, push them to the back of a closet or shelve them in the garage. The challenge is, how should we dispose of these items?

Youchange answers this challenge with an electronic waste collection program that focuses on fundraising within schools to solve the problem in Maricopa County through the launch of its Earth Day Challenge.

“We all have obsolete electronic items collecting dust but what we don’t know is that many of those items still have some value. Youchange’s business is built on empowering students to change the world and solve the problems of electronic waste through school fundraising programs and launching this challenge for our local area just makes sense. With more than 100,000 schools across the nation suffering with serious budget cuts we plan to expand this opportunity to other regions in the coming months.” – Derrick Mains, youchange EVP

The Earth Day Challenge is an electronics collection competition providing the opportunity for one school to win a cash prize of $ 2,500. The challenge is simple and beneficial to all 30 schools, even if they do not win the grand prize. Hold an electronic collection fundraiser between now and Earth Day and youchange will pay each school for functional electronic items collected. The one school that collects the most items per student will receive an additional $ 2,500 in cash paid by youchange. Because the contest looks at the number of items collected per student it allows a school with only 200 students to compete equally with a school of 2,000 students.

“We have seen schools make between $ 300 and $ 5,000 after completing our two week collection drives. Now adding in the chance to win an additional $ 2,500 prize for their efforts is a win for them and a win for the environment and the school!” – Dan Fogel, youchange VP of Operations

The contest is open to all schools in Maricopa County, Arizona and can be driven by students, parent-teacher organizations or by teachers. To qualify schools need to be one of the first 30 schools to register (with a minimum of 10 schools participating) with youchange and choose a two week time period to run their collection event. In addition, youchange emphasizes the importance for each school to promote their event and discuss with students the importance of recycling electronic waste. Schools will be paid for functional items in a number of categories including computers, cell phones, tablets, e-readers, game consoles, media players and digital cameras. All non-functional items will be responsibly recycled.

“It starts with you…and ends in change.”

The winning school will be announced on May 15th, 2012 and presented with a $ 2,500 check in addition to the cash they raised through their collection event.