Mobile Device Recycling: A Win-Win For Everyone
Having green thumbs when it comes to our electronic devices isn’t all that difficult. In addition to doing the planet a good turn, mobile device trade-in and recycling is putting green into the pockets of manufacturers, retailers and consumers while promoting the connection and digital inclusion of those on the planet who thus far haven’t had the same access.
Valuable resources and materials comprise the electronic devices we use daily, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Close to 96% of materials in mobile devices are recyclable. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources, reduces air and water pollution, as well as the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from their manufacture.
The lead, nickel, cadmium and mercury found in electronic devices are a significant risk to health and the environment. Keeping used electronics out of landfills through recycling is the best way to preserve the environment and local ecosystem.
When electronic waste ends up in the ground, it slowly leaks corrosive chemicals into the soil and water table. Nickel, cadmium, mercury, and lead leach poisons into the ground, taking 20 years or more to decompose. Lithium, the main component in device batteries causes damage to the nervous system, while silver, nickel and cadmium have been linked to organ damage.
Device reuse and recycling also ensures that the metals found in them can be repurposed rather than requiring further extraction of them from the ground. When phones end up in landfill, those metals can only be replaced by further mining, which is also environmentally damaging.
Additionally, for every million cell phones recycled, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That’s significant both in terms of environmental costs and commodity value.
What Happens To Most Devices?
The statistics are staggering. 44% of the 1.8 billion new cell phones sold in the last year will end up in gathering dust in consumer’s drawers, 4% will end up in landfills, and just 3% will end up being recycled.
According to Lookout, 62% of American households have one mobile phone they aren’t using but haven’t recycled. 27% of them don’t know how to recycle them, 13% fear their personal data will get into the wrong hands, 17% don’t know how to erase their data, and 6% want the ability to access information stored in them in ways that are not backward compatible.
Second Hand For Second Life
Rapid advances in device technology as well as an all out effort to sell as many handsets and tablets as possible is driving the frequent update of product offerings along with incentives to entice customers to upgrade. Device trade-in and buyback programs are making it easy for consumers to recycle their oldish phones while they still have a significant amount of use left in them. Of the devices that are being upgraded, 7% are recycled outright, and 64% re-circulated on the second hand market. 41% of those are traded in or sold and 23% handed down.
The result has been a significant increase in upper end device sales as well as that of the number of second-hand devices in re-circulation. According to Gartner, the global market for refurbished phones sold will likely reach 120 million devices by 2017, up from 56 million last year.
Demand for second hand devices will most likely spike in the coming year as carriers do away with device subsidies and charge full price for the latest models. Many consumers will be rethinking the need for a new phone when the technology is only marginally better than that found in the previous year’s model.
Mobile Buyback and Device Trade-In
Everyone benefits from mobile buyback: carriers, retailers, consumers and the environment. Consumers can receive cash, gift cards or credit towards another device while carriers can resell those devices on the second hand market and create additional revenue. Those who can’t afford new phones, or possibly any type of smartphone till now, can now benefit from purchasing an affordable and useable second hand device.
Consumers can resell their devices to 3rd party companies for cold hard cash over the internet. Major retailers like Target, Best Buy, and Walmart now offer in-store device trade-ins usually for a substantially valued gift card.
All the major wireless carriers offer trade-ins with different and changing perks, usually an account credit for the old phone and a gift card. Some offer flat rate value on the device while others depend on condition and type. Apple’s Reuse and Recycling program lets customers bring in iPhones and iPads for instant credit on the purchase of a new device.
Data Privacy, Device Condition, & Value Assessment
A major reason that prevents Americans from recycling their devices is fear of data theft and privacy invasion. Consumers need reassurance and the ability to trust that their data has been completely cleared by whomever is refurbishing their device.
Fair condition and value assessment are also important factors as well as accurate and up to the minute market pricing. Consumers need to feel that subjectivity regarding those points by in-store staff has been eliminated from the transaction.
B2B Soft and HYLA Integration For In-Store Device Trade-In
B2B Soft is proud to partner with HYLA on an in-store device trade-in experience that enables retailers to offer consumers peace of mind concerning data and privacy integrity along with fair and simplified device assessment and pricing.
HYLA has been providing wireless carriers and retailers with mobile device trade-in solutions to manage the device trade-in process, evaluate device condition & pricing, customer eligibility, device logistics, warehousing, processing & repair, inventory management, and device re-sale since 2009.
Integration of HYLA’s In-store Device Trade Platform with B2B Soft’s Wireless Standard Retail Management POS System simplifies and speeds up the process while reducing errors and operating costs for carriers and retailers.
Retailers benefit from device data clearing that helps to ensure customers’ information privacy, and enables device diagnostics, value assessment and real time pricing. It minimizes staff subjectivity from the trade-in equation, and therefore minimizes post-transaction price adjustments that vastly improve retailers’ profitability. It offers retailers:
- Automated device evaluation that guides the store sales staff through the trade-in process
- Comprehensive pricing system with live market feeds to ensure ongoing maintenance of competitive market pricing for pre-owned devices
- Verification of the customer eligibility for trade-in or lease program turn-in
- Integration with existing in-store credit systems to quickly and painlessly grant in-store credit or bill-credit to the end user
- Ability to generate physical and virtual gift cards if necessary
- Seamless management of store promotions for each eligible transaction
- Customized retail and sales support programs include marketing campaigns, sales training and dedicated field staff support
- Integration with warehouse management systems to maximize inventory turns
- Carrier-class device processing, data clearing, and repair
As consumers demand newer technology at a faster pace, the volume of idle devices with valuable life remaining is increasing. Recognizing this trend, HYLA Mobile has started a global life cycle revolution for wireless technology by reclaiming idle or used devices, and putting those devices into the hands of those who need them most. This revolutionary process in turn drives digital inclusion that can change lives and communities while protecting the environment.