Sprint has deployed a device buyback program that gives customers an instant account credit for trading in eligible handsets as part of its efforts to hit a 90 percent wireless reuse and recycling rate by 2017.
The operator tapped startup company eRecyclingCorps to deploy the system, which is available in 1,100 company-owned stores, 1,400 preferred dealers and its Web site.
The deal is especially important for eRecyclingCorps, which was founded about a year ago by former Sprint PCS CEO Ron LeMay and former Radio Shack CEO David Edmondson to address “the unintended ecological consequences of [the wireless industry’s] success.”
The company’s founders are passionate about remedying the detrimental effect the wireless industry has had on the environment. “We want to transform the back end of the wireless ecosystem,” Edmondson says.
The company’s device buyback programs work by offering customers incentives to recycle their devices. Carriers refurbish some of the reclaimed devices while others are passed along to eRecylingCorps for recycling.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that just 10 percent of handsets are recycled, creating an estimated 65,000 tons of electronic garbage. Cell phones contain precious metals, copper and plastics that can be recycled. The EPA estimates that recycling 100 million cell phones would save enough energy to power about 19,500 U.S. households for a full year.