Calif. Cell Phone Retailers to Launch Free Recycling Programs

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California cell phone retailers are reluctant to embrace Assembly Bill 2901, which mandates recycling efforts by July 1, 2006. Consumers have been kept in the dark about cell phone recycling programs that can put cash in their pockets.

California Assembly Bill 2901 requires cell phone retailers to “take-back” cell phones that were purchased from their establishment. The Bill mandates retailers to educate their cell phone customers about their free cell phone recycling programs. Cell phone retailers have until July, 1 2006 to launch their free recycling services to consumers.

Sacramento, CA based YouCell.com has made efforts to raise consumer awareness of the problem of electronic waste with their reuse and recycle programs. “This Bill is important because it brings about consumer awareness of electronic waste environmental issues,” says Julie Young Surber, CEO of YouCell.com. Ms. Surber notes that many consumers are not aware that cell phones require recycling and those consumers who are aware are astonished to find that local cell phone recyclers charge for recycling services.

While the option of free cell phone recycling is not available to all consumers, companies like YouCell.com offer an alternative to free recycling. “We will pay cash for most working cell phones,” says Surber. “We have various programs to meet the needs of individuals, fund raising efforts and even cell phone retailers seeking recycling solutions. Through our special programs we purchase almost all working cell phones regardless of their condition or age.”

Cell phone retailers are reluctant to take the leap and promote recycling efforts, fearing that as cell phone recycling becomes more widespread, their sales will decrease. It is expected that most retailers will wait until July 1, 2006 to implement their "take-back" programs. Ms. Surber predicts that the implementation of the cell phone recycling programs will inevitably change the way cell phone retailers are doing business. Many consumers already purchase used cell phones to avoid lengthy contracts, and that trend is expected to grow. Since the used cell phone market will make financial leaps over the next few years, cell phone retailers will likely experience a decrease in new cell phone sales, forcing them to embrace the used cell phone market to survive.

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Julie Surber
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