Apple May Join Growing, Lucrative Smartphone Recycling Market

Smartphone recycling rates may soon rise, as more new companies are willing to buy old phones. It’s said that Apple will soon join them.
EleGreen, a relative newcomer to the growing smartphone recycling movement, has a focus on the upgrades of government agencies and large corporations, whether from old BlackBerry smartphones to iPhones, new BlackBerrys or Android-running devices.
EleGreen buys phones to resell them to other markets—making sure, first, that they’re cleared of data, it says—or else makes sure they’re recycled responsibly. It recently bought 3,000 phones from a major corporation that was refreshing its device lineup.
“Most people don’t realize how much they can get for their old phone because they only look to their service provider, or the manufacturer,” Spencer House, vice president of marketing and operations, said in a June 14 statement. “Our primary objective is to educate the consumer, make buy-back easy and pay top dollars for the hardware.”
For a device like the iPhone 4S, eleGreen currently offers a buy-back price of $295. Given that many people pay a hardware rate of $199 to upgrade, eleGreen points out that its price would put a person ahead by nearly $100.

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Apple Is the Boost Smartphone Recycling Needs

Apple is rumored to be working on a deal with Brightstar—a third party that handles device distribution, marketing services, channel management and more for device makers—to run a new buyback and recycling effort. Companies like Nokia and Sprint have been pushing recycling efforts for years, citing the environmental impact, but newer companies like SellCell and eleGreen are educating consumers about the dollar value of the devices cluttering their desk drawers. According to a survey commissioned by SellCell, the No. 1 reason people don’t recycle is they don’t know what to do with their devices (44 percent said so). Nearly 20 percent said they don’t know how to wipe all data from their devices and 23 percent said they were afraid their personal data would be jeopardized. Over the next year, SellCell plans to educate consumers about device recycling—an effort Apple can help with. Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston told eWEEK: “If Apple can expand its recycling program, ease fears about data privacy and make payments for old phones relatively enticing, we expect the recycling rate for all smartphones worldwide to increase during 2014.”

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