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."
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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."