September 28, 2022

“Drawer heroes” gives old smartphones a second life

The Düsseldorf sustainability project recycles old devices and creates digital participation

More than 200 million old mobile phones lie unused in Germany’s households. Many could continue to be used or even their components, such as valuable rare earths, could be returned to the cycle by means of recycling. 
A union of Düsseldorf companies, associations and institutions, to which Düsseldorf Convention belongs, initiated the "Schubladenhelden" campaign to collect, recycle or remanufacture old cell phones.
By means of the Job Centre and Caritas Düsseldorf, fully usable devices reach local people who could otherwise not afford their own one. In this way, the project makes the digital participation of needy Düsseldorf residents possible.

“It was important to us that ‘drawer heroes’ works as a sustainable initiative here, where our events also take place. We are pleased that many partners have joined and are providing a sustainable impulse for companies and events,” says Jens Ihsen, Director of Düsseldorf Convention.

Impulses for sustainable events

Event planners are increasingly implementing sustainable concepts and looking for suitable partnerships. “Instead of just compensating for the footprint afterwards, we want to act in a very specific and local way. With “drawer heroes” we are implementing this socially, economically and ecologically. Companies or organisers can simply set up the boxes - our network takes care of the rest,” says Ihsen.
There are currently 70 collection boxes available, created in the Caritas inclusion workshop and financed by Düsseldorf Convention.

The collection is intended to bring a significant number of smartphones back into the cycle of use. The processing and recycling give people in work opportunities with an expense allowance (one-Euro jobs) access to know-how in these work areas, which will be socially important for the future processing of the circular economy and an opportunity for reintegration measures into the labour market.
In addition to Caritas and the Düsseldorf Job Centre, Vodafone, the Digital City Düsseldorf, the IST University of Management, Unternehmerschaft Düsseldorf und Umgebung e.V. and Netztechnik Schiffmann are also project partners.

All information and the opportunity to collect with a “drawer heroes” box at your company is available online at: