As the use of electronics grows in an increasingly populated and technology-oriented world, the federal government and wireless phone companies are developing ways to encourage people to properly dispose of unwanted electronic devices.
AT&T is addressing the issue of recycling wireless devices by offering drop-off stations at more than 2,000 of its retail locations across the country, as well as offering prepaid shipping labels for customers to ship back their old phone for recycling.
Even better, customers can bring their wireless phones, accessories, smartphones or batteries to these AT&T retail locations, regardless of the manufacturer or network carrier.
AT&T Reuse and Recycle aims to boost the current U.S. EPA estimation that of the 2.25 million tons of TVs, computers and cell phones capable of being recycled, only 18 percent is collected for recycling while the other 82 percent finds its way primarily into landfills.
In 2008, as a result of these efforts, AT&T reports that it collected 4.5 million wireless devices and 1.3 million pounds of batteries and accessories for recycling.
Additionally, AT&T is partnering with the EPA in its Plug-In to eCycling campaign. The goals of the partnership include:
- Educating consumers about the benefits of recycling e-waste
- Informing the public of drop-off locations for recycling e-waste
- Increasing the U.S. e-waste recycling rate to 35 percent
As awareness concerning e-waste increases, companies such as AT&T hope that disposing of old phones can become as routine as other recycling habits. Making electronics recycling a habit will require education as well as convenience.