Yesterday, Sprint was honored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the first-ever Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge Champion Award for its leadership in collecting and responsibly managing electronics waste.
Sprint was one of only two recipients in the non-product category for the Electronics Challenge Champion Award. This marks the third major award that Sprint has received in 2014 by the EPA, following the Climate Leadership Award and the WasteWise Partner of the Year.
“Sprint is proud to be an inaugural recipient of the SMM Electronics Challenge Award in recognition of our leadership in electronics recycling,” said Jeff Auman, vice president of product operations at Sprint. “Device reuse and recycling plays not only a critical role in Sprint’s business success, but also in helping us to significantly reduce our environmental footprint. Our mobile device buyback program has helped Sprint avoid more than $1 billion in costs and has helped put more than $100 million back in customers’ pockets.”
The recognition ceremony took place at the SMM Electronics Reuse and Recycling Forum at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Crystal City, Va. Awards were presented by Mathy Stanislaus, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste & Emergency Response. In addition to the ceremony, the forum brought together the electronics community to discuss shared priorities that will advance end-of-life electronics recycling in the U.S.
The Electronics Champion Award recognizes electronics original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and retailers that exemplify exceptional leadership and innovation in the electronics lifecycle, including the sustainable management of electronics. The award judging criteria are based upon a company’s vision (strategy, originality, value), coalition building (collaboration, inclusiveness), execution (motivation, inspiration), and impact (measurability, replicability).
According to the EPA, Americans throw away more than 2 million tons of obsolete electronic products per year. Sprint played a pivotal role in launching the SMM Electronics Challenge in 2012 to address the pervasive issue of discarded electronics. In collaboration with other OEMs and retailers, Sprint is one of eight companies that answered the EPA’s call to voluntarily commit to increasing the amount of its collected electronics.
Participants in the challenge were asked to send 100 percent of collected used electronics to third-party certified recyclers and report the information publicly. These certifications are based on strong environmental standards for used electronics that maximize reuse and recycling, minimize exposure to human health or the environment, ensure safe management of materials by downstream handlers, and require destruction of all data on used devices. The details on Sprint’s device collections were published in this EPA SMM Electronics Challenge Report.
“Electronics are made of valuable resources such as precious metals, copper, plastic and glass – all of which require energy to extract and manufacture,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Improper handling of discarded electronics can result in serious health consequences to communities and workers. The efforts by these leaders to collect, track, and recycle used electronics is a great step towards addressing these public health concerns, conserving materials, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”