Consumers who want to get a new Nexus One or a HTC Hero don’t have to throw away their existing phones. Instead they can trade their current devices for cash at the nearest Sprint store or just have the phone recycled in environmentally friendly way.
“If there’s some value to the phone you can get some dollars that can go towards buying your new phone or accessorizing it,” says David Edmondson, CEO and founder of eRecyclingCorps and former CEO of RadioShack. “If not, we promise it will be disposed off in a way there’s zero electronic waste.”
All 2,500 Sprint stores in the country and the company’s website will be the first to kick this off. Sprint has said it wants to achieve a wireless reuse and recycling rate of 90 percent as compared to device sales by 2017.
The recycling program will cover all cellphones sold in the U.S. since 2005 and customers can trade in phones from any service provider at the Sprint store.
In the U.S., about 130 million phones are retired each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. About 10 percent of cellphones in the U.S. are currently recycled, and only about 1 percent of the 4 billion wireless subscribers in the world recycle their handsets. With new models launched every month, the growing cellphone market has also resulted in a huge amopunt of electronic waste that is harmful to the environment.
Meanwhile, sensing an opportunity for used gadgets, over the last three years, sites such as Gazelle and TechForward have offered trade-in or recycling programs for devices. On their websites, consumers can enter the make and condition of the gadget and instantly find out if they can get some cash for it.
eRecyclingCorps will be different because it just focuses on cellphones and it will work with wireless carriers to make the process easier for consumers, says Edmondson.
“There is a lack of convenience in the process right now,” he says.”and there’s a lack of scale.”
Once the old phones are gathered, they are divided into three categories, says eRecyclingCorps: Phones that can be re-used right away, phones that can be refurbished, and phones that are beyond their their functional life. The last category is passed on to a recycling firm. The company promises its recycling will be an environmentally friendly process with nothing going into a landfill.
Though Sprint is the first to partner with eRecyclingCorps, Edmondson says his company is trying to work with other carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to make this a part of their stores.
Source: Gadget Lab