As with any fad, particularly fitness fads, lots of people buy equipment that soon ends up in a drawer or on a shelf. It really sounded like a good idea when you purchased that Fitbit, but it didn’t provide the inspiration you expected or you stepped up and purchased a more advanced edition. Either way, the old model is gathering dust somewhere.
That’s where RecycleHealth comes in. RecycleHealth gathers wearables from people who upgrade to newer models or just stop using them, and donates them to fitness studies involving underserved populations.
“It started with two simple questions: (1) What if those least likely to buy wearable activity trackers benefited most from their use to improve health and fitness, and (2) Would people who owned wearables that they don’t use donate them to help others? From there, RecycleHealth was born.” (RecycleHealth.com)
My friend, Lisa Gualtieri, is the organization’s founder and program director. Lisa and her team are providing a “second life for wearables” while making them available to underserved populations who would not typically be able to afford them. Access to wearables is a very real challenge for many.
Research into the benefits of wearables is a primary objective of the organization:
“RecycleHealth works with organizations that serve minorities, low-income households, and seniors to increase fitness and health. Participants in our studies receive wearables to keep, and we ask them to complete surveys so we can learn more about acceptability and use of wearables and their impact on physical activity and behavior change in different populations!” (www.recyclehealth.com)
If you have a community that could benefit from wearables (RecycleHealth focuses on seniors, minorities and low-income groups), you can contact them through the website (http://www.recyclehealth.com) for more information. They may well have recycled wearables that you can use for research in your own community. Evidently, there are plenty of fitness trackers out there that are going unused. According to a 2014 report from TechRepublic, 50% of users lose interest. That report cited a study by Endeavor Partners which found that half of the survey’s 6,223 respondents “said that they no longer use their activity tracker, and a third of those stopped using the device within six months of receiving it.” To access Endeavor Partners’ white paper on the subject, use this link.
Here’s a link to an article from the Boston Globe that features RecycleHealth.