eRecycling Corps: 10 Million Cell Phone Trade-Ins Since 2009
Few press releases cause me to say, "Wow." Yesterday's press release about eRecyclingCorps (eRC) achieving 10 million cell phone trade-ins since 2009 is an exception. eRC, a leader in mobile device trade-ins, began in 2009 when Ron LeMay, from Sprint, and David Edmondson, from Radioshack, launched the company. Edmondson is now the CEO and LeMay is the Chairman. eRC allows in-carrier and retail stores to offer instant-credit that a customer can apply to the purchase of a new phone. It also allows carriers to make money from their e-waste. It’s a clichéd win-win situation for both customers and carriers. What does eRC do with the devices collected by in-store operators and retail programs? They are repaired to "like new" quality and resold. That keeps them out of landfills.
In addition to hitting the 10 million trade-in mark, eRC almost tripled its year-over-year volume with over seven million cell phone trade-ins in 2012. That same year, eRC processed device trade-ins at a rate of almost 20,000 a day, which represents 2,255 tons of electronic waste kept from landfills. Not bad for a company founded in 2009. eRC operates in 10 countries and partners with five of the seven leading carriers in North American, several European operators, and over 10,000 retail locations globally. It launched its first in-store operator program with Sprint, and since then, Sprint's buyback program has a trade-in rate today of over 40 percent.
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a big problem, particularly when it comes to cell phones. Only 10 percent of cell phones are being recycled, according to the EPA, and U.S. households have over a billion unused cell phones. Every year, 130 million cell phones are replaced. That is why trade-in programs are so important.
Early in January, eRC announced that it achieved both Responsible Recycling (R2) and Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS) certifications for its headquarters in Irving, Texas. eRC describes R2/RIOS as "an international mark of excellence for electronics recyclers." RS2/RIOS combines two industry standards for device trade-in providers. To achieve the certifications, the company's headquarters had to go through a comprehensive third-party audit by NFS International Strategic Registration (NSF-ISR). eRC is one the first device trade-in companies to achieve both certifications. Achieving both standards means that a company is complying with the EPA's standards while promoting good environmental practices both at home and abroad.
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Cell phone image via Shutterstock.