It may shock you to learn that only 10 percent of America’s 275 million cell phone users recycle their handsets. Globally, the situation is even more depressing: A mere one percent of the world’s four billion cell users recycle old phones. Former Sprint and Radioshack CEOs Ron LeMay and David Edmonson aim to improve those stats. They created eRecyclingCorps, a new company that hopes to recycle the 65,000 tons of old cell phones US consumers get rid of every year.
The ambitious new venture plans to set up easy phone trade-in schemes. eRecyclingCorps will partner with network providers, and customers can bring their old phones in to carriers’ stores. The stores will provide customers with a credit to put towards a new cell phone. The stores then send the old phones to eRecyclingCorps, which sorts which phones can be refurbished and which need to be recycled. eRecyclingCorps will safely recycle unfixable phones and sell refurbished phones in emerging markets like Brazil, India, Russia and China.
Unsurprisingly, eRecyclingCorps’ first partner is Sprint. eRecyclingCorps will handle phones turned in to 2,500 of the provider’s stores and dealers. With luck, Sprint won’t be the only company featuring the new trade-in program: eRecyclingCorps says its working on convincing other carriers to adopt the program, too.