I enjoy being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry...
Social Innovation and the Question of E-Waste
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."
To celebrate the success of the program's one-year achievement, Verizon has collaborated with American Forests and made a donation that will give the company the opportunity to plant 1,000 trees in Northern California's Klamath National Forest. The plantings will cover a handful of areas that were severely affected by wildfires and provide benefits to local watersheds, scenery, recreation and wildlife. The American Forests says this initiative will improve the habitat for threatened and endangered species such as Coho, Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, and the California spotted owl.
The end of October marks the closing of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the U.S. It is worth mentioning that people also can donate their old mobiles to the long-running HopeLine® from Verizon, which collects wireless devices and accessories to support victims of domestic violence. Since HopeLine was launched in October 2001 it has collected more than nine million phones and distributed more than 123,000 phones with the equivalent of 406 million airtime minutes to victims of domestic violence. HopeLine has properly disposed of more than 1.7 million no-longer-used wireless phones in an environmentally sound way and kept more than 210 tons of electronic waste and batteries out of landfills.
Photo Credit: Chris Jordan on the Electronics Take Back Coalition