Creating a Sustainable Future with Proper Mobile Device Recycling

Posted by Rebekah Griffiths on Jun 21, 2017 12:17:10 AM

mobile device recycling tips

For nearly 50 years, we’ve come together as a global community to celebrate Earth Day. It may not seem like much, but it’s at least one day when we can unglue ourselves from our electronic devices and focus more on the environment.

And yet, our hand-held companions mean more on Earth Day than you might expect. Creating a sustainable future for our children (and their children) means recognizing the full lifecycle of your mobile devices.

Throwing them in the trash or letting them waste away in a drawer for years may seem harmless, but the environment would beg to differ.

The EPA has been pushing “reduce, reuse, and recycle” education for years, but sometimes we need a different form of motivation. Sesame Street specials and Jack Johnson’s “3 R’s” song from Curious George are great, but how can we get people to start disposing of mobile devices properly on a consistent basis?

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If we want to achieve a sustainable future, we have to drive awareness of e-waste and encourage proper mobile device recycling. Here are a few tips for making it happen. 

Mobile Device Recycling—Motivation by the Numbers 

For some people, the best way to motivate them to properly dispose of their mobile devices is to make them understand the true impact. After all, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking one individual device won’t make a difference to the global environment.

Once you dig into the numbers on mobile devices and how we dispose of them, you start to see just how important recycling and reuse are:

  • There are 327 million mobile phones in the United States—150 million of which are discarded annually.
  • Improper disposal puts devices and stripped parts in landfills, polluting groundwater. The result? 1,200 to 5,000 infected gallons of water per device.
  • For every 1 million smartphones recycled, we can recover 35,000 lbs of copper, 772 lbs or silver, and 75 lbs of gold.

If we’re going to create a sustainable future, these are important numbers to keep in mind. But not everyone will be motivated by the numbers—they just aren’t personal enough for some people.

Luckily, creating a sustainable future with proper mobile device disposal isn’t just good for the environment. It creates a win-win scenario of consumers and retailers/carriers/OEMs alike.

How Proper Device Disposal Benefits All Involved

There are two sides to any sustainability program supported by mobile device trade ins—the side of the retailer/carrier/OEM and the consumer side. The benefits of reusing and recycling devices are great for the environment, but businesses and consumers can find value for themselves as well.

sustainable future Sustainability is a valuable initiative that companies (retailers, carriers, and OEMs alike) can proudly tie into their overall corporate messaging. It’s a great feeling to lead a green initiative and actively encourage recycling devices—but programs are ineffective if you can’t get customers to properly dispose of their devices.

To encourage your customers to go green, consider these tactics:

  • Release an ongoing green report that transparently explains how you’re helping the environment through a trade-in program. The more supporting numbers you can include the better!
  • On the sales floor, pair promotional efforts with in-store environmental efforts like battery disposal containers.
  • Offer in-store credits for environmental stewardship—customers become more aware and get money toward new devices/accessories at the same time! 

Regardless of the specific approaches you take to encourage customers to properly dispose of devices, the key message is clear—trading in a device reduces carbon footprint and global e-waste, puts some extra money in their pocket

s, and provides someone else with a mobile device.

Connecting the Unconnected: A Sustainable Future

So far we’ve talked about how trade-in programs help customers properly dispose of mobile devices to benefit both the physical environment and their own finances. However, there’s a third benefit to proper device disposal that contributes to a sustainable future. 

When you work with customers through a trade-in program, you can help those in developing countries or areas with less mobile access improve connectivity. When devices are reused, retailers, carries, and OEMs can create a continuous stream of used devices at more affordable prices, which makes connectivity more accessible than ever.

Mobile Device Recyling and Sustainable Future

What does this have to do with a sustainable future?

A GSMA study has shown that providing wider access to mobile data leads to increases in GDP. With a reduce, reuse, and recycle mentality, you can unlock new opportunities for developing markets while enjoying the multi-faceted benefits of an efficient mobile trade-in program.

How HYLA Helps Contribute to the Sustainable Future

The only problem in all this is that designing the most efficient trade-in program to advance sustainability might seem easier said than done. However, HYLA’s products and services allow carriers, retailers, and OEMs to offer mobile device trade-in programs that make it easy for consumers to dispose of their phones and reduce e-waste.

The first step in the HYLA process is to test each device, clear them of all data, and identify which ones should be recycled and which should be reused.

When devices still have plenty of life left in them, they are put back into the ecosystem by fulfilling insurance and warranty obligations or being sold in the secondary market. 

Implementing HYLA products and services into your trade-in program gives you access to key data and metrics that will drive your sustainability efforts forward through company reports and greater consumer awareness. 

Not only that, but HYLA trade-in programs can also be used for promotional events that push environmental stewardship alongside seemingly small incentives. One customer even ran a promotion that gave away coasters and tree seeds with every trade-in. The promotion boosted the company’s brand, gave the trade-in program greater visibility, and remained truly green.

Who says business goals and sustainability goals don’t mix? If you want to learn more about how you can contribute to a sustainable future by optimizing your mobile trade-in program, download our free guide, 16 Steps to Optimize Your Mobile Trade-in Program.

WP: Mobile Devices and the Circular Economy

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About This Blog

The HYLA Mobile blog is a place for thoughtful dialogue that will ultimately change the perception of “used” phones around the world. Visit the HYLA website to learn more.

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