With companies like Apple, Samsung, and Nokia churning out new mobile devices faster than consumers can buy them, electronic waste has become one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. Since strict environmental regulations prevent these gadgets from being dumped in landfills, most are shipped off for disposal in developing nations. Unfortunately, instead overseas “recycling” operations often consist of untrained villagers burning e-waste over open fire pits in an effort to get at the precious metals within.
While responsible recycling operations do exist, it requires consumers to first realize that electronics need to be handled with care, and then to make the effort to find and deliver the devices in a timely fashion. Some say that manufacturers should be doing more to encourage customers to recycle their products. Sprint, named No. 3 on Newsweek’s 2011 Green Rankings, seems to have taken that advice to heart. The company was recently named the best carrier in the industry for their phone Buyback Program, according to a report released today on Mobile Device Reuse and Recycling conducted by Compass Intelligence Research.
The study was based on primary and secondary research that evaluated trade-in program capabilities of the top wireless carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and U.S Cellular. Sprint’s trade-in program, Sprint Buyback, an industry first when it launched in 2010, was considered the most rewarding and convenient out of all evaluated. The program offers customers a merchandise or service credit of up to $300 when customers trade in their eligible wireless devices, regardless of the carrier or manufacturer.
“A major factor in the success of our Buyback program is making sure all consumers know their old phone is never worth as much as it is today,” said Chad Lander, Sprint director of Phone Recycling programs. “We make it as easy and convenient as possible to get those old phones out of junk drawers. Customers see a financial benefit, and they help us keep phones out of landfills. In 2012 alone, we’ve put more than $50 million back in our customers’ pockets.”
Sprint also allows customers to sell back their devices in-store, a perk that 41 percent of all consumers surveyed said they would prefer.