Electronic’s Recycling Spotlight: Sprint Buyback Program

December 5, 2012

Cell Phone ScrapPhoto by rhodes | Flickr.com

by Alex Francis
As the amount of electronic waste produced in America has surpassed 2.5 million tons (according to the Environmental Protection Agency), several companies, like CJ Environmental and Sprint, are making strides to alleviate the problem. Sprint has instituted a Buyback Program that provides an incentive for cell phone users to recycle their old devices when it’s time for an upgrade rather than toss them into a drawer or into the trash. Through the program, Sprint accepts unwanted cell phones, regardless of carrier, from any new or existing Sprint subscribers, in return for up to $300 of credit to their accounts.
Sprint’s program is the first of its kind to be established by a wireless carrier, and its commitment to sustainability has earned the company recognition from the EPA for responsible electronic waste management. Their ultimate goal is to have collected nine devices for every ten sold by 2017.
Giving New Life to Old Phones
Going beyond simply recycling every device they receive, Sprint’s Buyback Program is aimed primarily at refurbishing and reusing the cell phones that would otherwise be thrown into a landfill. As Fared Adib, product development chief at Sprint, explains, “For us, recycling isn’t just about responsible disposal. Our main focus is on finding a useful and profitable ‘second life’ for the phones we collect.”
When a cell phone is received, it is tested and sorted based on its condition. If possible, the software is updated and the appearance is refurbished so that it can be redistributed through equipment warranty and insurance claims or sold outside of the US. If the phone cannot be salvaged as a whole, it is either used for parts to repair other broken devices or sent to be recycled. All of the recycling and refurbishing facilities that Sprint partners with are third-party certified in order to ensure that each device is handled as sustainably as possible.
Changing Mindsets, Changing Standards
Adib recognizes that a large part of getting people to recycle their old cell phones is to get them to first change the way they think about and connect with their mobile devices. Because people tend to carry their cell phones with them at all times and use them as primary sources of interaction, they develop strong attachments to them. Then, when the time comes to upgrade, it is hard to let go of that emotional attachment. He hopes to direct consumers toward treating their cell phones as they do their leased cars, trading them in when the times comes. Such a trade-in program benefits not only the consumer and the business, but the environment as well.
CJ Environmental is the leader in precious metal refining, and as such, is dedicated to minimizing electronic waste production. Sprint customer or not, you can sell your old and unwanted precious metals, electronic scrap, and even cell phones to CJ Environmental to be recycled. To find out more and see how much money you can get in return for your unwanted products, contact CJ Environmental today.

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