Nonprofit seeks old Apple Watches to donate to people in need


App Home Screen Apple Watch Series 4
Recycle Health is a wearables charity working out of Tufts Medical School.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Have an old Apple Watch you want to donate to a good cause? Recycle Health, a nonprofit working out of Tufts Medical School, is collecting fitness-tracking wearables to donate to underserved populations.

These include homeless people, veterans, people in senior living homes, and intellectually disabled adults, in low-income communities. The hope is that the fitness-tracking devices could lead to “sustained behavior change” among those who need it.

The initiative has already collected more than 5,000 trackers since 2015. Lisa Gualtieri, an assistant professor at Tufts Medical School, started Recycle Health. She notes that around 30% of smartwatches and fitness trackers are abandoned while still in working condition. In a report published over the weekend, CNBC writes that:

“After Gualtieri had the idea for Recycle Health, she put out a call on social media for people in her network to send her their trackers. And she reached out to companies, like Fitbit, which was recently acquired by Google, to ask them to share older models they couldn’t sell. Gualtieri said Fitbit, Fossil and Withings have all sent devices, but Apple has not donated. She has received Apple Watches from individuals, however.”

Nonprofit wants you to donate your Apple Watch (and other fitness trackers)

Cupertino makes health-tracking a big part of the Apple Watch sales pitch. In the early days of the device, Apple presented it more as a fashion item. However, in recent years it embraced mobile health as the device’s big selling point. This includes the addition of features like heart-reading ECG tech and fall-detection features. CEO Tim Cook says Apple’s contribution to health may wind up being the company’s lasting legacy.

If you have an Apple Watch (or other fitness tracker) that you’d like to donate to Recycle Health, you can find more information here. The charity is looking for both new and used trackers in working condition. The average price of sending these trackers in the United States is a couple of dollars and the donation is tax deductible.