The wireless world's in Las Vegas at this very moment for the CTIA confab -- where, just this morning, a former Radio Shack boss (David Edmondson) and ex-Sprint president (Ron LeMay) announced the creation of eRecyclingCorps. Which is, put simply: "The company will help carriers buy back used handsets from consumers and ensure they are resold or responsibly recycled." And, bonus: The company will be headquartered at 909 Hidden Ridge in Irving.
Sprint, but of course, will be the first carrier to partner with eRecycling Corps. Which means: When you buy a new phone at a Sprint store or a Radio Shack or a Best Buy or a wherever Sprint phones are sold, they'll take your old one and give you credit toward a new one. If the old one's still good to go, it'll be refurbished and reused (how, it doesn't say -- though there is a picture that suggests they'll be sent to pretty women in faraway places wearing exotic garb). Those that are trashed will be recycled in "compliance with all regulatory policies."
Per this morning's press release, whose word we'll take at the moment, only 1 percent of the world's 4 billion cellphone users recycle their old phones when they get a new one. (According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 10 percent of the 275 million U.S. wireless users actually recycle their old phones. The rest stick 'em in a drawer or chuck 'em out or let their 3-year-olds play with them.) And that, says Edmonson, has created "a mountain of toxic environmental e-waste." Which is why this morning's announcement is getting good play: Fast Company writes "it's a hell of a green effort," while Wired headlines its story about the effort, "Carriers Get Serious about Cellphone Recycling."