By Marci VerBrugge-Rhind
November 15, 2013

It’s easy to do nothing with your old cell phones. I know firsthand. While I talk about cell phone recycling and the customer and environmental benefits of trading in your old phone as part of my job, I recently found myself not taking my own advice when my husband asked me to clean out the desk in our kitchen.

Believe me, I have more than one “catch all” place for those junk drawer items, but in all fairness to my husband, the desk was a mess. What I found was impressive.

Christmas stamps from last year that can hopefully find a home on cards this year, my son’s missing Star Wars Legos and even a few dollars in change. What really caught my eye were three old cell phones. Ones I didn’t even remember owning. I thought we’d recycled our old phones when we had “traded in when we traded up”  but somehow these phones made their way into the black hole.

Last year alone, 135 million cell phones were discarded with just over 10 percent being recycled. I think it’s a common problem for most Americans and why Sprint sees it as part of our responsibility to encourage customers to bring their old phones back before they find their way to junk drawers like mine or worse, end up in landfills.

That’s why we launched the Sprint Buyback program. With Sprint Buyback customers can earn up to $300 in instant credit, which comes in handy when you’re looking to buy up to the latest and greatest. Since its inception, Sprint has reclaimed more than 50 million mobile devices and put more than $100 million back in customers’ pockets last year alone.

While phone recycling might be our focus, it’s truly about getting those phones back to give them a second life. Offering certified pre-owned phones to customers at a fraction of the price helps our customers. Today nine of every 10 devices that come back through the Sprint Buyback program get reused, not just recycled. Ten percent are “recycled.” They are broken into parts that can be recycled as raw materials for a surprising number of goods, from jewelry to battery packs to car parts.

While it’s easy to do nothing, we make it equally easy to do something. In fact, Compass Intelligence recognized Sprint for having the industry’s best trade-in program the last two years among national carriers. The convenience of the Sprint Buyback program – both in Sprint retail locations and online – the ability to accept competitor devices led to the recognition.

So, on America Recycles Day think about turning in your old devices. Those collecting dust and need a different home other than a junk drawer in your kitchen desk. If you’re due for a new phone, make sure you trade-in when you trade-up. Those devices will never be worth as much as they are – today.

Marci VerBrugge-Rhind is the spokesperson for Sprint on corporate responsibility including Sprint’s award winning phone recycling and reuse efforts. She can be reached at