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.