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Moving from 1% towards 98% Recycling of Cell Phones


A recent study by ABI Research has shown that about 1% of global wireless phone subscribers recycle their cell phones but that 98% would recycle their cell phones with the right incentives.

In order to help move us from 1% towards that 98% potential, two former chief executives of two major electronics companies — Sprint and RadioShack — have teamed up to create a new cell phone recycling firm.

David Edmondson, former chief executive of RadioShack, and Ron LeMay, former president and chief operating officer of Sprint, announced the launch of eRecyclingCorps recently.

“The unprecedented growth in the global wireless industry has transformed the way people live, work and play,” Edmondson said. “The unintended consequence of that growth is a mountain of toxic environmental e-waste.”

Starting with it first client, Sprint, eRecycling Corps is launching a new in-store cell phone recycling scheme. It claims that this new scheme will allow Sprint to achieve its 90% re-use by 2017 target.

The company is creating a web-based system that will integrate with the company’s point-of-sale systems. To be more clear, in exchange for turning over an old phone, customers will get a credit that goes towards the purchase of a new phone.

“Stores are also paid for each phone they send to eRecyclingCorps for recycling or refurbishment. The devices are sold on to customers in emerging markets or broken up so that the components and raw materials can be re-used,” Cath Everett of Business Green reports.

Edmondson expects this program will be more successful than other cell phone recycling programs that are either on a volunteer basis or provide you with a reimbursement weeks after taking action to recycle them. People respond to convenience and immediacy.

The new eRecyclingCorps program will work in Sprint’s 1,100 stores and in 1,400 of its third-party dealers.

ERecyclingCorps is in communication with more telecommunications operators and in the long term it hopes to get consumers to return 20-30 million of the 130 million cell phones retired each year in the US.

Image Credit: c.a.s.e.y. via flickr/CC license

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