Supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Plug-In To eCycling National Cell Phone Recycling Week“, April 6-12, 2009, Sprint has set a goal to collect 250,000 phones in April, a 25 percent increase over last April’s collection rate.
To encourage consumers to participate, Sprint has launched a communications campaign to reach more than 15 million customers. The wireless provider is also offering postage-paid wireless recycling labels at touch screens located at all Sprint-owned retail stores throughout the United States.
Sprint announced earlier this year its goal to collect nine phones for reuse and recycling for every 10 phones Sprint sells by 2017, which is a collection rate of 90 percent. Since 2001, Sprint wireless recycling programs have diverted more than 16 million cell phones from landfills for reuse or recycling, and its collection rate is just under 35 percent, more than three times the national recycling average, according to the company.
A member of EPA’s Plug-In program since 2007, Sprint has established a “Zer0 e-Waste” policy to ensure that phones are recycled safely, ethically and responsibly. The company offers two recycling services — Sprint Buyback that allows Sprint customers to return Sprint or Nextel devices in exchange for account credit, and Sprint Project Connect, which accepts all wireless phones, batteries, accessories and data cards, regardless of carrier or condition.
Other Plug-In partners, including AT&T, Samsung, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, are introducing a series of in-store promotions, contests, and giveaways as well as providing in-store and online recycling services to promote the EPA’s National Cell Phone Recycling Week. EPA estimates that enough energy would be saved to power more than 18,500 homes for a year if Americans recycled the 100 million cell phones that are no longer being used.
The UK’s largest recycler of mobile phone handsets is taking a different direction in promoting the collection of unused phones. Envirofone has unveiled an online “advergame” by entertainment specialist, Matmi, to help reduce the number of handsets sent to the landfill. The new game, Battle Fones, was developed to drive younger cell phone users, age 25 and under, to reuse or recycle phones responsibly.