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Is Sprint’s 90% Cell Phone Recycling Goal Realistic?

sprintSprint has set goal of recovering 90 percent of old phones (compared with its sales rate) for reuse or recycling by 2017. This comes after the company’s research found that nine of every 10 consumers have at least one old, unused mobile phone.

The company plans to include a postage-paid envelope for its recycling program with all of its new phones, Sprint’s representative Alexander Hahn told Marketing Daily.

Kevin Ferguson writes on InformationWeek’s Green Computing Weblog that Sprint’s “90 percent rate seems to be disconnected from reality.” Ferguson notes that the current industry or cell phone recycling is at about 10 percent.

Moreover, Ferguson says three things are working against Sprint’s goal of 90 percent: people may be too lazy to print out a label and mail in old phones; people may switch carriers and opt to mail in old phones for charitable purposes; and few states require consumers or manufacturers to recycle their phones.

However, Sprint says it has more success than others: In 2008 it collected more than 3 million units, equal to 34 percent of devices sold, that’s an increase from 22 percent in 2007. Of the handsets Sprint collected in 2008, it says more than 90 percent were reused.

Last October, the company set a goal of cutting its total GHG emissions 15 percent by 2017.

As an EPA Climate Leader, the company commits to reducing their impact on the global environment by completing a corporate-wide inventory of their gGHG emissions based on a quality management system, setting aggressive reduction goals, and annually reporting their progress to the EPA.

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