New Forum to create "gold standard" for device renewal
The following post was written by Scott Crawley, President, Integrated Services for ModusLink.
More than 1.6 billion wireless devices are produced every year. Less than 1% of these devices are recycled1. With smart phones being replaced or upgraded every 11.5 months, most discarded phones show little wear, still perform to the manufacturer’s standards and have considerable life expectancy left. ModusLink has teamed with Sprint Nextel, eRecyclingCorps, Brightstar and CDMA Development Group to found the Device Renewal Forum (DRF) and breathe new life into used electronics.
The DRF is designed to expand the use of renewed devices by building awareness, ensuring product quality and certifying their proper operation. By creating a technology-agnostic “gold standard” for testing and certifying renewed devices globally, we can extend the lifecycle of wireless devices and reduce the more than 65,000 tons of toxic waste created by billions of devices discarded each year.
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of announcing the creation of the DRF alongside the other founding members during a press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. We were able to get in front of the leading players in the wireless space at the industry’s biggest event of the year to discuss the benefits of a device renewal standard. The benefits to the environment are clear. Our objective is to also demonstrate that proper e-recycling and device renewal can have a financial ROI if we create a more secure environment where the economic return from secondary channels outweighs the operational challenges.
This can be done by building confidence in the renewal process among potential customers, the carriers who will provide service for the devices and brand owners whose products are re-entering the market in an uncontrolled manner today. That confidence will come from the creation and maintenance of a common device renewal standard with input from these and other stakeholders in the process.
The potential benefits of this type of standard include:
• A concrete set of performance expectations for a renewed device
• Assurance around robust data wipe processes
• Access to a higher level of technology at a lower cost
• A venue for receiving value for those consumers upgrading their device
• Confidence that renewed devices will operate effectively on their networks
• Creation of a new pool of potential customers
For OEM brands:
• Address key issues of intellectual property protection
• Shorten the replacement cycle for new devices by creating a stronger market for renewed devices
For device renewal partners:
• Create a certifiable standard that will be used in the industry for the protection of employees, consumers and the environment
• Ability to leverage economies of scale
The biggest potential winner in this process is the environment. With more than 80 percent of all cell phone purchases in the U.S. to replace an existing phone2, Dave Edmondson, founder and CEO of eRecyclingCorps summed it up best, “Reuse is the highest order of recycling.”
We are delighted to be a part of the forum and have high ambitions for what it can achieve. I’d like to invite other interested stakeholders to join us in developing the standard and eventually creating standards for other consumer electronics renewal beyond mobile phones. Visit the DRF website to learn more.
Share your success stories about device renewal or other ideas for reducing e-waste below.1. Source: CDG, GSMA and EPA 2. Source: Gartner