Fitness Feeds: A Collaborative Upcycling Effort for Charity

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Recently, I had a conversation with my good friend John Romaniello about charity work. John brought up how he is most passionate about feeding those who can’t afford to eat in America, and something he said hit a nerve with me:

“I find it to be the very definition of irony that we spend much of our time in the fitness world telling people to eat less to lose weight or eat more to gain weight. Meanwhile, in America, there are people who still can’t afford to eat – period.”

I thought back to when I was a kid and discovered that my mother (a high school teacher) kept food in a drawer of her desk to feed students who came to school hungry. It was astounding to me that in my hometown – a reasonably affluent community in Southern Maine – there were still families who couldn’t afford to eat.

John and my conversation ultimately brought in another fitness friend, Ben Bruno, and we discussed how we might be able to use our industry presence to increase awareness and, more importantly, make it easy for our readers and colleagues to help to feed folks. We stumbled upon an organization called Causes International that will allow us to do just that, and – as it turns out – much more.

You see, Causes International focuses on upcycling, the process of donating your used electronics so they can be sent back UP the chain, and either disposed of in an environmentally clean and sustainable way—or given to those in need. This is a big deal, as electronics that aren’t disposed of properly often wind up releasing extremely toxic heavy metals—such as lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium and deadly toxins like polyvinyl chlorides—directly into the environment. We may not notice it yet in the US, as over 80% of our “electronic trash” is sent overseas, but there are parts of China and other industrialized countries where people can’t breath the air or drink the water, and children are dying or being born with defects because of these toxins.

These electronics – even if they’re outdated or broken – actually have residual value to those who refurbish them and introduce them into other markets, or simply reuse the parts. With over 12 million laptops thrown away in 2007 alone in America, and more than 100 million smartphones tossed in the garbage annually around the world, there are a lot of financial resources going to waste, literally and figuratively.

That’s where Causes International comes in; they have developed not only education—but practical, real-world solutions for fixing the e-waste epidemic for good. In this case, in line with the theme of our drive (Fitness Feeds), the “good” will also refer to feeding the hungry.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1…

Do your normal spring cleaning and notice how many outdated pieces of technology you find (the average American has 4-5 items). Figure out which items you want to donate, and enter them for donation directly on the special donation page Causes set up for us at Over 60,000 items, in 13 different categories – iPhones, iPods, iPads, and MacBooks (even with shattered screens), plus various other items, like other smartphones, video games, graphing calculators, or digital cameras – are eligible.

Step 2…

Once you do that, you’ll receive a free, pre-paid shipping label you can print off —so that you don’t have to spend a penny or leave your house in order to send in your used electronics. You just hand it to a UPS driver or put it in one of their 40,000+ boxes around the country.

Step 3…

This is the best part: the items you donate can be used to generate revenue to help Feeding America put food on the table for hungry Americans. Every $1 raised can provide 8 meals for those in need. That’s not a typo: $1 yields 8 meals.

And, your donation is 100% tax deductible.  There’s no cash outflow, either, so Causes has done a great job of combating the “donor fatigue” seen by charities in a down economy.

Our goal with this drive is to provide 100,000 meals to those in need by the end of April, and we can do it with your help. We’d love it if you’d put that broken or outdated iPhone to great use, and encourage your friends to do the same by passing along the link.

This is an absolute win/win for everyone. You’re cleaning out the clutter in your house, while feeding those in need, while saving the Earth, while getting a tax deduction – and without spending a penny. However, Ben, John, and I wanted to sweeten the deal by offering a free PDF special report, “30 Ways to Shake Up Your Training Programs Today,” to anyone who donates. Just forward your receipt on to and we’ll send it along. We’d normally sell it, but in this case, it’s just our way of saying thanks for supporting a great cause.

Thanks for your time, consideration, and support. I’d encourage you to click the link below to start upcycling today: