Sprint joins Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Electronics Challenge to Encourage Responsible End-of-Life Practices
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), September 20, 2012 - Today Sprint [NYSE:S], named No. 3 on Newsweek’s 2011 Green Rankings, joined the EPA and other electronics leaders at a third-party certified recycling center in Romeoville, Ill., for the signing of the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge.
This new national program is designed to advance the responsible management of used electronics by challenging manufacturers and retailers of electronics to voluntarily commit to sending 100 percent of used electronics collected for reuse and recycling to third-party certified recyclers, increase the total amount of used electronics collected for reuse and recycling, and publically post information and data regarding electronics recovery and disposal.
“Already, the United States generates almost 2.5 million tons of electronic waste per year – and that number will only grow. Used electronics have materials in them that can be recovered and recycled, reducing the economic costs and environmental impacts of securing and processing new materials for new products,” said EPA Administrator Lisa. P. Jackson. “The SMM Electronics Challenge will help us ensure that we are doing all we can to repurpose or safely dispose of the cell phones, computers and other devices we use every day – all while helping to build a robust market for electronics recycling in the United States.”
Sprint is the first and only wireless carrier to participate in the program. It is not the first time Sprint has secured this distinction for electronics management leadership, having participated with the EPA in 2011 to launch the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship.
E-waste is the largest growing waste stream in the country, generating 2.5 million tons of e-waste annually. The EPA estimates 135 million cell phones – 17,200 tons – are discarded nationwide each year. Many wind up in junk drawers and landfills. Today it is estimated that only 10 percent are collected for reuse or recycling. As a company dependent on electronics, Sprint has led the industry in e-waste management best practices having kept more than 40 million mobile devices out of landfills. Sprint was also the first major U.S. wireless provider to “buy back” mobile devices from any carrier and to offer customers an instant credit in-store to return their old phones.
Through the Sprint Buyback Program, Sprint has awarded customers more than $50 million in trade-in credit for returning their used devices to the carrier just this year. This is a significant benefit to customers as the cost of mobile devices continues to climb and a benefit to wireless providers like Sprint looking for ways to reduce the effects of e-waste and drive cost efficiencies. Since 2010, recycling and reuse programs have avoided approximately $1 billion in cost to Sprint. Sprint’s Buyback Program was also recently named the best buyback program in the wireless industry by Compass Intelligence1.
“We’ve seen tremendous benefit from partnering with the EPA to advance environmental responsibility and the safe management of electronic,” said Ralph Reid, Sprint vice president-Corporate Responsibility. “With 1 billion wireless phones being produced in our industry every year we have a responsibility to ensure we are mitigating environmental impact. This voluntary, collaborative approach with the EPA, which recognizes corporations for leadership, innovation, and education and outreach, represents an ideal model for driving positive change.”
Sprint is the only U.S. wireless carrier to outline specific commitments that address e-waste holistically by focusing on the full lifecycle of the electronics it buys and sells. Through its Electronics Stewardship Policy, Sprint developed the following commitments with input from BSR, Basel Action Network and ABI Research:
- Design and procure more eco-friendly electronics.
- Strive to maximize the equipment’s useful life, boost collection of equipment, and maximize reuse of electronics.
- Responsibly recycle electronic scrap, and use environmentally and socially responsible vendors for recycling.
Sprint will share the insights it has gained while implementing this policy at the Green Gov Symposium in Washington, D.C., next Wednesday, Sept. 26. Sprint will be moderating a roundtable discussion on electronics stewardship with the EPA, U.S. Government Services Administration (GSA) and Dell. “Together we’ll share best practices and lessons learned regarding the procurement of greener electronics and the use of third-party certified solutions for reuse and recycling to help accelerate adoption of these principles within federal government operations,” said Darren Beck, Sprint manager--Corporate Responsibility. “We look forward to further collaboration with the EPA as we continue educating others on this important topic.”
Sprint’s leadership in environmental sustainability continues to receive recognition. For the third year in a row, Sprint ranked highest among all U.S. telecom companies on Newsweek’s 2011 Rankings of America’s Greenest Companies at No. 3, up from No. 6 in 2010 and No. 15 in 2009. Sprint was also named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America.
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 more than 56 million customers at the end of the second 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 and most improved in customer satisfaction across all industries during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 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.
1. Compass Intelligence July 2012 rankings based on program capabilities, user feedback, and expert analysis. Sprint had the highest composite score.