After months of speculation, the coveted iPhone 4 is now available through Verizon. Market observers believe that Verizon could sell as many as 25 million of these gadgets in 2011 alone, as almost one-third of the company’s subscribers indicate that they will definitely switch to the iPhone this year.
With all those new cellular phones we are left with as many as 22 million phones that could be improperly discarded this year. Furthermore, millions of dollars could be left on the table by many consumers whose old phones are still in good or excellent working condition. Even if many cellular phones have seen better days, they are still full of materials that could be recycled instead of going to waste in a landfill with all those toxins. One company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, however, has a plan that will keep those phones out of landfills, get money into consumers’ wallets, and even help out some non-profits that could use the phones or money.
Secure TradeIn, a subsidiary of the leading global recycler and reseller of used cellular phones ReCellular, is prepared for a massive recycling effort thanks in part to Verizon’s iPhone coup. The company could pay out as much as US$10 million to consumers who trade in their old phone for a new one. According to Secure TradeIn CEO Steve Manning, consumers can get paid in as quickly as two weeks after visiting the company’s site and sending in their unwanted phones.
The process is relatively seamless. Users visit Secure TradeIn’s web site, enter the relevant information about their phones, print a US Post Office label, pack the phone, and send it in the mail on the company’s dime. Consumers know beforehand what their old phone is worth, and once the model is verified, they receive a check from Secure TradeIn. Accessories and batteries are not required, but Secure TradeIn promises to recycle any materials they receive, and the company has a 0% landfill policy.
Secure TradeIn refurbishes the phones and sells them to markets where second-hand phones are more than welcome, and meanwhile, consumers who were dying for that iPhone but dinged with those highway robbery termination fees can recoup some of those costs. Meanwhile, any recycling is completed in the company’s Michigan facility, not in a ghastly factory overseas.
So one man’s trash really is another’s treasure. The thought of tens of millions of new phones tossed into trash bins is a horrid one, and electronic waste continues to challenge municipalities in the United States and abroad. Secure TradeIn’s efforts, however, will divert some of that e-waste, and serves another lesson on how trash can truly be rendered into cash.
Leon Kaye, Executive Editor, has written for Triple Pundit since 2010. He is also the Director of Social Media and Engagement for 3BL Media, and the Editor in Chief of CR Magazine. His previous work can be found at The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. Kaye is based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas.