US Cellphone Recycling Receives a Boost

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 at 2:38 pm

eRecyclingCorps has just been founded to establish mobile trade-in schemes for operators aimed at encouraging comsumers to send in their old mobiles to operators (cellphone carriers) rather than discarding them.

The idea is for consumers to visit their network operator’s shop with their old phone where they will receive credit for it towards the cost of a new mobile.  The carrier stores, who sell about 60% of cellphones in the US, would send the old phones to eRecyclingCorps.  eRecyclingCorps would then reinburse the carrier for the phones and sort out which phones can be refurbished and those that need to be recycled. The reburbished models would then go for sale in the developing world.

eRecyclingCorps first customer is Sprint and it has asked them to handle phones returned to 1,100 of its shops and a further 1,400 third party dealers. The long term goal is to recycle or reuse 90% of phones sold by Sprint by 2017.  However, eRecyclingCorps are hoping to help Sprint achieve that target earlier and if the concept works well with Sprint other carriers could well follow suit.

Research from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency indicates only 1% of the planet’s 4 billion mobile phone users recycle their old phones.  About 10% of the approximately 275 million U.S. users recycle their mobiles.

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