In 2010, Verizon set a goal to collect two million pounds — or 1,000 tons — of electronic waste in communities it serves by the end of 2015. The company has announced that that five-year goal was achieved today, eight months ahead of schedule, during Verizon's e-waste recycling rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, as area residents, businesses and Verizon employees safely disposed of tens of thousands of pounds of unwanted computer hardware, TVs and small appliances.
The two million pounds collected for recycling over the past five years is equal to the weight of 500 average cars, or roughly 50,000 cathode ray tube computer screens.
"The city of Wilmington, its citizens and its business community share Verizon's commitments to protecting the environment and preserving the natural resources that sustain our way of life," said Mayor Bill Saffo. "So it's fitting that Wilmington is the city that helps Verizon reach its goal of responsibly recycling two million pounds of electronic waste. I congratulate Verizon and commend the people ofWilmington."
Verizon has now set a new e-waste goal: recycling another two million pounds of e-waste by 2020.
Disposal of electronics in landfills can cause the electronic devices' toxic materials — such as lead, arsenic, beryllium and mercury — to leach into the environment, posing a potential threat to the ecosystem. Thanks to the Wilmington community's participation, Verizon has collected and kept from entering landfills roughly 200,000 pounds of electronic waste in the area to date — equivalent to the weight of more than 9,000 desktop computers.
"Volunteers from our 18,000-member employee Verizon Green Team worked with Wilmington community members on a milestone achievement today," said James Gowen, Chief Sustainability Officer for Verizon. "The recycling rally helped reach Verizon's goal of collecting and keeping 2 million pounds of e-waste out of landfills – months ahead of schedule. But as environmental stewards, we won't stop hiking the path of sustainability. That's why we've already set our next five-year goal to collect another 2 million pounds of electronic waste by 2020."
Verizon — which has hosted recycling rallies in 17 states since 2009 — adheres to a zero-landfill objective for e-waste; the company says all materials it collects are reused or recycled, so they do not end up in a landfill. The recycling rallies also benefit Verizon's HopeLine program, which diverts working mobile phones from landfills and donates them to domestic violence prevention and support organizations. Over 9 million wireless phones have been collected through the program since 2001.
Sprint is another service provider that’s finding innovative ways to keep its products out of landfills, including launching a challenge for ways to repurpose smartphone components at their end of life — an idea touted by a recent Green Alliance report, which asserts that new strategies for reuse and remanufacturing of mobile devices can cut the carbon footprint of each device by up to half while expanding sales.