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Sprint Re:cycle

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Thank you for your interest in Sprint’s reuse and recycling programs and initiatives.

Sprint Re:cycle offers you rewarding options for keeping wireless equipment out of the waste stream. Get instant savings or a service credit when you recycle eligible devices through the Sprint Buyback program. Or, recycle with Sprint Project Connect, and Sprint will donate the net proceeds to support Internet safety for kids. For answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about recycling with Sprint or how to participate in a specific program, please see below.

General FAQs:

  • Why recycle my phone?

    By recycling your unused or old handset, you're helping to safeguard the environment. All of the equipment that Sprint collects through our takeback programs is kept out of the waste stream. This alleviates the risk of toxins entering our water and air through landfills and waste incinerators. And, since Sprint emphasizes the reuse of devices and parts, you're helping to cut the greenhouse gas emissions and conserve the energy and resources involved with manufacturing new phones.

  • What can I recycle with Sprint?

    Sprint accepts the following wireless equipment regardless of carrier or condition: mobile phones, smart phones, PDAs and data cards. Sprint-branded routers and femtocells (e.g., AIRAVE) are accepted. Also any batteries and accessories associated with these devices (e.g., power cords, ear buds, holsters, etc.). You may also submit user manuals and the packaging that initially came with the device to Sprint for recycling. All equipment collected is kept out of the waste stream. None of it enters landfills or waste incinerators.

  • How committed is Sprint to wireless recycling?

    Since 2001, Sprint has collected tens of millions of devices for wireless reuse and recycling through Sprint's takeback programs. Sprint was also the first in the industry to set an ambitious and measurable long-term goal. By 2017, Sprint intends to collect nine devices for reuse and recycling for every 10 devices that it sells — a 90 percent collection rate. In 2011, Sprint achieved a 40% rate. With your help Sprint can take that number even higher.

  • How does Sprint plan to achieve its 90% collection goal?

    Sprint's collection rate of devices for reuse and recycling was 40% in 2011. While the company is nearly half way to its goal, there is significant ground to cover by 2017. The largest obstacle to wireless recycling today is lack of awareness that recycling is available, followed by the need for incentives. Sprint is committed to raising awareness and rewarding customers for taking action. For instance, in 2010, Sprint became the first major wireless carrier in the U.S. to offer customers up to $300 in instant credit in store for recycling any eligible mobile device, regardless of carrier. This was a fantastic enhancement to the existing Sprint Buyback program, which has been rewarding customers for recycling devices for more than a decade. To date, customer proceeds through this program have exceeded $100 million. Click here to learn more about Sprint's customer outreach efforts and how they have been expanded to offer recycling across nearly all customer touch points.

  • What happens to my equipment when I recycle it with Sprint?

    Phones and other equipment (e.g., batteries, data cards, femtocells, and routers) are tested and sorted according to their condition. Most are functional and are in demand. Sprint invests significant resources to clean, repair, refurbish, and update the software on the devices so they may be reused. Non-functional or obsolete equipment, non-recoverable parts, accessories, packaging, and paper products are recycled for base materials. Those materials, which include precious metals, plastics, and paper, are given a second life. They're used to manufacture a wide variety of new products ranging from jewelry and electronics to automotive parts and battery packs.

  • A lot of companies say they're recycling responsibly. How do I know that Sprint is?

    Sprint was the first in the telecommunications industry to establish an Electronics Stewardship Policy addressing the full lifecycle of all the electronics it buys and sells. Sprint also has been recognized by the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its leadership in safe management of used electronics. Click here for details and to learn how Sprint constantly strives to maintain customer trust through conscientious reuse and recycling operations.

  • How should I prepare my phone before shipping it to Sprint for recycling?

    To prepare your phone, it is important to take a few simple steps:

    1. Transfer service to a new device or deactivate service.
    2. Remove any user locks, or set the password to 0000.
    3. Erase all personal data (e.g. contacts, e-mail accounts, calendar entries, memos, notes, photos, music, emails, text messages, etc.) from the phone.
    4. Discharge the battery, so the phone cannot be turned on.
    5. Leave the battery attached to the phone when shipping. If your shipment includes loose phone batteries, please place tape over the terminal ends.

  • How can I save the contacts on my phone before recycling or reuse?

    Most Sprint retail stores have the ability to transfer contacts from one phone to another. Additionally, Sprint recommends a few other backup options for customers who still have service on the phone that will be recycled. Most Sprint CDMA phones support Wireless Backup that you can subscribe to directly from the phone. A few Sprint phones, including the Samsung Instinct, support Sprint Mobile Sync. For Nextel Direct Connect iDEN phones, you may sign up for MyNextel Address Book. Another option, if you've replaced your old Nextel Direct Connect iDEN phone with a new one, is simply transferring the SIM card from the old phone to the new one.

  • What about erasing the data from my mobile phone?

    Sprint's policy is to erase user data from all mobile devices collected through the company's takeback programs before they are reused. Sprint works closely with original manufacturers to ensure thorough removal of data, including contact lists, call history, email, SMS files, calendars, photos, videos, ringers and Web-browsing history. Sprint's vendors are contractually obligated to follow Sprint's data-erasing policies and are regularly audited by Sprint to confirm compliance. As an added layer of protection, Sprint recommends that customers erase all personal and work-related data from devices before turning them in for collection. Customers can consult their device's owner's manual or manufacturer's website for instructions on how to clear data.

  • How do I prepare a rechargeable battery for shipment?

    Federal Department of Transportation suggests that all batteries be turned on until fully discharged or drained. Once the battery is fully discharged or drained, reattach the battery to the wireless device. If your shipment includes loose phone batteries, please place tape over the terminal ends.

  • May I also recycle my accessories?

    Yes. We encourage environmentally safe disposal of all wireless electronic products. If you do not have the ability to dispose of these items appropriately, we encourage you to bring them into the store or send them in with your device(s). However, no additional incentive is offered for accessories.

  • If a device cannot be repaired for reuse, what does Sprint do with it?

    If valuable parts can be salvaged, they will be used to fix broken devices. Any obsolete or non-functioning devices or parts that remain will be dismantled. Base materials, such as plastics and metals, will be recycled and used again in the manufacturing of new products. All of Sprint's recycling is conducted in facilities that are ISO 14001-certified and operated in OECD (developed) countries in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local regulations. Sprint has also set a goal to have 100 percent of its electronics-recycling vendors third-party certified by end of 2012. Sprint offers optional certification paths based on either the R2 or e-Stewards recycling standard. Sprint expects its vendors to implement one of these standards along with a sound environmental-management system and a health and safety management system that takes into account the unique risks associated with handling and processing electronics. For details, click here to view Sprint's Electronics Stewardship Policy.

  • How can I ship my package using the United States Postal Service?

    U.S. Postal Service packages can be dropped off at any U.S. Postal Service pickup or Mail box including your home.

  • Do you offer shipping to collect equipment outside the U.S.?

    Not at this time.

Sprint Buyback FAQs:

  • What is the Sprint Buyback Program?

    The Sprint Buyback program collects unwanted wireless phones and data cards regardless of carrier or manufacturer. Many of these devices are eligible for instant savings toward the purchase of a new device or accessories in Sprint stores or credit toward your existing Sprint account through the Sprint Buyback website. Sprint has partnered with several innovative, eco-friendly companies to reuse and recycle collected devices to help keep electronic waste from piling up in landfills.

  • What is the benefit of the Sprint Buyback program?

    To reward customers for recycling their unwanted wireless equipment with Sprint, so we can properly reuse or recycle it - protecting our environment for future generations.

  • How can I participate in Sprint Buyback?

    New and existing Sprint customers who turn in an eligible device for reuse or recycling through the Sprint Buyback program may be eligible for instant in-store savings or a service credit of up to $300:

    . Sprint Store: Customers can visit their local Sprint store to see if a current device qualifies for an instant product or service credit. Sprint will "buy back" up to five eligible devices every 12 months for every active line of service on consumer accounts.
    . Buying a new phone today? New or Existing customers can take advantage of the integrated buying experience on
    . Existing customers can check eligibility on the Sprint Buyback website where Sprint will "buy back" up to five eligible devices every 12 months for every active line of service on consumer accounts. Customers can create a quote by entering their account numbers and follow the easy instructions to print a pre-paid shipping label. Devices can then be easily shipped to the Sprint Recycling Warehouse.
    . Please call 1-877-443-4464 with questions.

  • How can I find my account number?

    Your Sprint bill or online account will contain both the account number and your mobile phone number.

  • How long is the trade-in quote valid on

    Once the quote is generated, the price is locked and will not change. It is valid for 45 days.

  • What if I want to trade in a device from a carrier other than Sprint?

    Sprint is offering a trade-in credit through Sprint Buyback for many devices from other carriers. You can check eligibility and the trade-in amount online. If your device does not qualify for a credit, you can still recycle it with Sprint Project Connect.

  • How do I ship the wireless equipment if I use

    Instructions are posted on the website. A prepaid shipping label can be printed and attached to the shipping box of your choice. Please ship your equipment with the battery attached. Note that the shipping label is pre-addressed and will ship only to the Sprint Recycling Warehouse. You must use this shipping label when sending your equipment. Sprint cannot apply an account credit until the equipment has been received. The device must meet the program criteria including: correct model, powers up, contains no loose internal components, has no obvious damage beyond normal wear and tear, and includes the battery.

  • How long will my device take to ship to the Sprint Recycling Warehouse?

    It will take five to 10 business days for a shipment to be received by Sprint.
  • How long will the whole process take?

    . Sprint store: The in-store credit is immediately applied at the register.
    . Online: A service credit for Sprint customers using the integrated buying experience on or may take up to three billing cycles to be applied once the phone is received.

Sprint Project Connect FAQs:

  • What is Sprint Project Connect?

    Sprint Project Connect is a free recycling service for anyone who has wireless phones, batteries, accessories and data cards they no longer use. Sprint accepts all makes and models, regardless of carrier or condition. The collected equipment is sold for reuse or recycling. All net proceeds are used to support online safety for kids through Sprint’s 4NetSafety program, in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the National Education Association Health Information Network, and others.

  • How do I recycle with Sprint Project Connect?

    Sprint includes a free, postage-paid recycling envelope in-the-box with most new phones and data cards that Sprint sells. Envelopes are also available at the retail counter in Sprint stores. In addition, you can print a free, pre-paid shipping label online right now by clicking here. Before you send your phone to Sprint, remove or transfer any personal information you have on it. Click on the following for information on how to remove or transfer personal information.

  • What if I want to recycle more than I can fit in the envelope?

    We recommend using a pre-paid shipping label. You can print them for free online right now by clicking here.

  • Are there any terms and conditions that apply to the program?

    Sprint Project Connect ("Program") is a wireless collection program that is available to everyone on and related websites or through collection bags. Through the Program, you can give any wireless device to Sprint for Sprint to reuse or recycle with no credit or monetary benefit to you in return and Sprint will use the net proceeds from the Program to fund and promote resources to help keep kids safer online. By participating in the Program, you agree that you are bound by these Sprint Project Connect Program Terms and Conditions as well as any other written services and transaction materials that Sprint may provide you with or refer you to and any confirmation materials that Sprint may provide or refer you to. You also agree that your participation is governed by Sprint's General Terms and Conditions of Service ("Ts&Cs"), which are available at, and that these terms and conditions are incorporated into the Ts&Cs. This Program is included in the definition of Services in the Ts&Cs. For purposes of interpreting these terms and conditions and the Ts&Cs with respect to this Program, "Sprint" includes Sprint's agents, vendors, and suppliers that provide any of the underlying products and services that comprise the Program. Sprint reserves the right to modify the Program, these terms and conditions, and the Ts&Cs at any time without notice in its sole discretion. If you do not agree with the modifications, your sole and exclusive remedy is to not participate in the Program.

    1. Data / Personal Information Removal. Sprint typically attempts to erase data, which may include contacts lists, call history, email, SMS files, calendars, photos, videos, ringtones, and web browsing history, from devices collected through its wireless recycling programs. However, Sprint cannot ensure that any personal data will be removed. Sprint encourages you to remove all data from devices before you provide it to Sprint. Sprint is not responsible for any data that may be on devices. Consult the user guide or the manufacturer for more information about how to delete data from devices.

    2. Deactivation of Service on Devices. You must deactivate all services to your devices. Sprint is not responsible for previous or subsequent wireless charges accrued to your device prior to or following your participation in the Program. If you incur any charges, it is your responsibility to pay these charges.

    3. Sprint Cannot Return Devices. Sprint will not be able to return any device that you submit to the Program for any reason, even if you request that Sprint return the device within the timeframes contained in the Sprint return policies, which are available at

    4. Device Title. By participating in this Program, you represent that you have title, ownership, and interest in the devices you submit, and you transfer the title, ownership, and interest in the devices to Sprint. You agree that Sprint will not have any liability for the devices submitted to this Program.

    5. Release. By participating in this Program, you agree to release Sprint Communications Company, L.P., the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the NEA Health Information Network, and other 4NetSafety partners (and each of their officers, members, directors, shareholders, affiliates, employees, agents, and representatives) from any and all claims, loss, or liability related to the devices that you gave Sprint.

    By clicking the "accept" button, you agree that you have read these terms and conditions and the Ts&Cs, understand these terms and conditions and the Ts&Cs, and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions and the Ts&Cs.

  • What are the program's 'net proceeds'?

    Sprint Project Connect generates funding by selling the equipment collected for reuse or recycling. 'Net proceeds' are defined as the program's total revenue minus operational and promotional expenses (e.g., the cost of printing recycling envelopes; postage for envelopes returned with equipment; vendor fees for receiving equipment, removing personal data from phones, and refurbishing, reselling or recycling them; materials for promoting the program and educating the public on its benefits; etc.). Click here to see a breakdown of the program's revenue, expenses, and net proceeds.

  • Will I receive a tax receipt for recycling with Sprint Project Connect?

    Your contribution is not tax deductible. However, it provides two important benefits: 1) You're protecting the environment through recycling; and 2) all of the net proceeds from Sprint Project Connect are used to fund and promote online safety for kids.

  • Where can I learn more about the free resources funded by Sprint Project Connect?

    Check out the 4NetSafety web site. It's a great destination for resources and information to help kids make safer, more informed decisions when using technology to communicate with others.

  • What charities benefit when I recycle phones with Sprint Project Connect?

    Sprint will donate the net proceeds from the sale of equipment collected through Sprint Project Connect to fund and promote Internet safety for kids. Sprint partners with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the National Education Association Health Information Network, and the Family Online Safety Institute to provide free tools, resources and information to help kids make safer and more informed decisions online. For more details, visit the 4NetSafety web site.

  • Why did Sprint choose to benefit Internet safety for kids?

    The Internet is an amazing resource, but there are potential risks for kids online. When teens and pre-teens use computers and wireless phones to connect with others, they're likely to encounter situations that require sound judgment and the ability to make safe, informed decisions. For example, studies have found:

    . One-third of teens surveyed say they are considering meeting face-to-face with someone they've met from the Internet, and 14% say they've already had such an encounter. 1
    . One-third of teens (ages 12-17) and one-sixth of children (ages 6-11) surveyed have had mean, threatening or embarrassing things said about them online. 2

    Sprint is committed to providing resources for kids, educators, parents and guardians - resources that help young people to make smart, safer decisions online.

    1 Teenage Research Unlimited. Teen Internet Safety Survey. Sponsored by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Cox Communications. March 2006.
    2 Opinion Research Corporation. Cyber Bully Teen and Cyber Bully Pre-teen surveys. Sponsored by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. July 6, 2006

  • How can I help to promote Sprint Project Connect?

    Sprint has a free kit of marketing and collection materials that you or your organization can use to promote wireless recycling through Sprint Project Connect. If you're interested, just email your request to Use the subject heading "SPC Promo Kit".