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Press Release -- November 15th, 2011
Source: Sprint Nextel
Tags: Equipment

Through Phone Recycling Efforts, Sprint and its Customers Find Financial Benefit in Environmental Good

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), November 15, 2011 – As part of America Recycles Day, Sprint (NYSE:S, news, filings) is showing customers that recycling their unwanted cell phones is good for their wallet and the environment. Sprint, recently ranked #3 on Newsweek’s Green rankings, offers a cash incentive of up to $350 through the Sprint Buyback Program for customers who recycle their eligible wireless devices. The program has allowed customers to benefit from the instant savings and trust that Sprint is disposing of their phone responsibly. The program also allows Sprint to offset the subsidy costs of new handsets.

In early 2010, Sprint became the first major U.S. wireless provider to “buy back” mobile devices from any carrier in-store and was the first to offer customers the option of receiving an instant credit. The Sprint Buyback Program credit can be awarded instantly in more than 3,000 Sprint stores nationwide to customers whose devices qualify. It can either be applied toward the purchase of a new phone, or accessories or to the customer’s account. The devices collected are then reused or recycled responsibly, a significant benefit to customers as the cost of mobile devices continues to climb and a benefit to wireless providers like Sprint looking for cost efficiencies and ways to reduce the effects of e-waste.

“We are seeing a huge growth in new customers bringing in other carrier phones at Sprint,” said Chad Lander, Sprint director of Phone Recycling programs. “Wireless users are often concerned about the expense of changing to a new carrier. Through the Sprint Buyback Program, we will take eligible phones, from any competitor, and that gives the customer an instant discount toward the purchase of a new device. We’ve seen a record number of customers participating in the buyback program since Sprint got the iPhone.”

E-waste is the largest growing waste stream in the country, generating 2.5 million tons of e-waste annually. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates 135 million cell phones – 17,200 tons – are discarded nationwide each year. Some are shoved into drawers, others end up in landfills. Today, only about 10 percent are collected for reuse or recycling. As a leader in e-waste management, Sprint has kept more than 26 million phones out of landfills and was recognized earlier this year by the EPA for its voluntary commitment to encourage certified recycling, protect public health, and support best practices in electronics stewardship.

Sprint is the only wireless carrier to outline specific commitments that address e-waste holistically by focusing on the full lifecycle of the electronics it buys and sells. Through its Electronics Stewardship Policy, Sprint developed the following commitments with input from BSR, Basel Action Network and ABI Research:

  • To design and procure eco-friendly electronics.
  • To maximize the equipment’s useful life, boost collection of equipment, and strive to maximize reuse of electronics.
  • To responsibly recycle electronic scrap, and use environmentally and socially responsible vendors for recycling.

According to Compass Intelligence Research, Sprint’s Buyback Program, including its in-store take back program powered by eRecyclingCorps, is the best of the four major carriers based on expert analysis, secondary research and primary research with users about what they most prefer in a buyback program: instant credit in a retail store1. The study concluded that during the past six months, 60 percent of customers are increasingly participating in wireless device buyback programs with the remaining 40 percent expressing intent and/or interest.

Compass Research also found that 58 percent of customers are most interested in receiving an instant credit and 68 percent of those want to do it at the carrier store. Only Sprint provides that option. According to Compass, Sprint surpassed all other carriers in each of the measured categories.

“Now more than ever, the Sprint Buyback Program has been a win-win for our business,” said Lander. “It makes it easier for customers to switch to Sprint and aligns with our environmental sustainability efforts to collect electronic waste for responsible reuse and recycling.”

Sprint’s leadership in environmental sustainability continues to receive recognition. For the third year in a row, Sprint ranked highest among all U.S. telecom companies on Newsweek’s 2011 Rankings of America’s Greenest Companies at No. 3, up from No. 6 in 2010, and No. 15 in 2009. Sprint was also named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America.

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 53 million customers at the end of 3Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at or and

1. Survey and analysis provided by Compass Intelligence was sponsored by eRecyclingCorps.


Marci VerBrugge-Rhind, 913-794-6319

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