Social Innovation and the Question of E-Waste

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Social Innovation and the Question of E-Waste

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3 million tons of e-waste discarded in 2009 and only 17.7 % of it was #recycled. http://3bl.me/x5gqh3 @Verizon In Store Trade-In Program
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Friday, November 2, 2012 - 9:00am

As tech mobile companies keep 'out-smarting' their smartphones with the latest social innovation technology, and as consumers keep updating their devices, it got me thinking about our e-waste. According to a report published February 2012 by the Electronic TakeBack Coalition, the U.S. alone got rid of (trashed or recycled) 142,000 computers and over 416,000 mobile devices daily. Over three million tons of e-waste was discarded in 2009 and of this amount, only 600,000 tons or 17.7 % was recycled; the rest was trashed in landfills or incinerators.

Making positive change to these alarming statistics is Verizon Wireless, America's largest mobile network. The company set up the Verizon Wireless In Store Trade-In Program and in September 2012 collected its one-millionth retail trade-in device, signifying a major landmark for the program. The initiative was launched in 2011 and in just a year, has collected one million wireless phones. This has helped to keep the equivalent of 140 tons of e-waste out of landfills and 436 tons of carbon dioxide out of the ozone. Another way to look at it: that's equal to the amount of electricity it would take to power 49 houses for a year.

The Trade-In Program works this way: customers who buy a new device can trade in their old devices at any Verizon Wireless company-owned store and kiosk nationwide or online to receive a Verizon Wireless gift card as an incentive. The gift card is up to the value of $300 and can be used towards the purchase of a new phone, tablet, accessory or even a Verizon Wireless bill. Robert Miller, Vice President of Marketing at Verizon Wireless says, "By trading in their no-longer-used wireless devices, Verizon Wireless customers nationwide have an opportunity to receive value from their no-longer-used devices and help keep waste out of landfills."

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Sangeeta Haindl is a staff writer for Justmeans on Social Enterprise. When not writing for Justmeans, Sangeeta wears her other hat as a PR professional. Over the years, she has worked with high-profile organizations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from her industry. She now runs her own UK consultancy: Serendipity PR & Media.