OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), November 14, 2012 - Sprint [NYSE:S], ranked No. 3 on Newsweek’s Green Rankings, is celebrating America Recycles Day by raising awareness of the importance of recycling old cell phones as electronic waste continues to be the fastest growing waste stream in the country. Last year alone, Sprint recycled more than 11 million wireless devices, over 211,000 on average per week, as electronic waste continues to be the fastest growing waste stream in the country.
This past week, the wireless carrier emphasized its phone reuse and recycling efforts by highlighting Sprint’s Buyback program at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Phoenix; launching a phone recycling pledge where customers can win one of five rewards cards worth $500 (now through Nov. 30); and posting a video online that illustrates how old cell phones can gain a “second life” while reducing the amount of electronic waste in the marketplace.
Last year, manufacturers produced more than 1.68 billion wireless phones worldwide. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that fewer than 10 percent of discarded mobile phones will be recycled. In 2001, Sprint recognized the trend and got serious about helping solve the growing threat of electronic waste.
Sprint developed a phone trade-in program and was the first U.S. wireless carrier to provide an instant credit at point of sale, as well as allow customers to bring back any phone from any carrier, now known as the Sprint Buyback program. Today, an average of four out of every 10 customers who visit a Sprint retail store participates in the program. This has resulted in more than $75 million going back into customers’ pockets just this year. The environmental benefit: Sprint has collected more than 4,000 metric tons of electronic waste – more than 40 million wireless devices – through its takeback programs since 2001. It’s also helped the company avoid more than $1 billion in cost.
“Making our business more sustainable is really part of our DNA at Sprint,” said Fared Adib, senior vice president of product development and reverse logistics. “You can’t be in our industry, put the amount of product into the market that we do, and not think through the full lifecycle. We’re proud that we’ve been recognized as having the industry’s leading buyback program despite our No. 3 position in the market – and we believe these efforts will contribute to Sprint’s long-term success.”
Sprint continues to be recognized for its recycling practices. Buyback’s convenience – both in Sprint retail locations and online – and ability to accept competitor devices led to Compass Intelligence recognizing Sprint as having the best trade-in program in the industry for two years in a row. In September, Sprint was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its leadership as the only wireless carrier to join the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Electronics Challenge. As a participant, Sprint will strive to send 100 percent of the electronics it collects to third-party certified refurbishers and recyclers and to increase the amount of used electronics collected.
Sprint is the first and only U.S. wireless carrier to outline specific commitments that address electronic waste (e-waste) holistically. Its Electronics Stewardship Policy, developed with guidance from BSR, Basel Action Network and ABI Research, focuses on the full lifecycle of the electronics it buys and sells. It publicly states Sprint will strive to design and buy greener electronics, extend the useful life of equipment, boost the collection of used equipment, maximize the reuse of electronics, and responsibly recycle the rest through third-party certified vendors.
Sprint will host a recycling event tomorrow at one of its downtown Chicago retail locations on North La Salle Street. Individuals who recycle a phone will have the opportunity to meet five-time NBA champion and legend Bill Cartwright, and receive a free Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Fun Pass good for one day of unlimited rides (while supplies last). The event runs from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and coincides with the recent launch of 4G LTE service in the Chicagoland area.
Sprint continues to be recognized for its leadership in environmental device recycling practices, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and managing natural resources. Last month’s Newsweek Green Rankings announcement also coincided with the release of Sprint’s annual Corporate Responsibility Performance Summary which provides greater detail on how the company, the only wireless carrier to crack the top 25, continues to advance its environmental business practices and policies.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served nearly 56 million customers at the end of the third quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in both its 2011 and 2012 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.