Strategies: Working With
By James Mosieur
The national concern about environment and the increase in electronic waste (e-waste) over the last few years has heightened governmental interest in mandating e-waste recycling. Several State and Local governments have proposed legislation or issued bans to stem the tide of e-waste pollution and there is even a federal movement towards mandatory e-waste recycling.
Concerning cell phones, California has a law (which goes into effect in July of this year) that requires any retailer to provide a method of cell phone recycling and several states will soon follow suit. The California law requires local agencies to be environmentally responsible as well. These agencies are prohibited from buying cell phones from anyone who does not comply with the law.
Addressing the concerns of government can help you grow your collection business.
Where to Start
First, know your pitch. The environment will be the big thing. Tell them what happens to the phones you collect. What will happen to the unusable cell phones, how they are handled and disposed of. What will happen to the batteries? If you are using CellForCash.com as your liquidator/recycler, familiarize your self with our environmental statement.
Once you know your stuff start by calling the recycling coordinator in your city. This is the person who can help the most. They will know what is being done with their e-waste, including cell phones, and who is doing it. You see, most agencies have contractors that remove all their e-waste. The contractor sends a truck to the agency offices and loads it up with all forms of e-waste…computers, monitors, fax machines, telephones and of course cell phones. Because of these contracts, it may not be possible to work directly with your local government.
I said may not be possible, not impossible.
The Recycling Coordinators are typically part of the Sanitation Department. They are in the disposal business. They run the landfills and any e-waste they get they consider junk and ready for reclamation. They will see little value in fishing through the pile of computers and fax machines to find you the cell phones.
If you get the cell phones before they make it to the Recycling Coordinator’s realm you have a better chance of getting them.
Most departments within local government offices can make their own decision on how to liquidate valuable equipment including cell phones. If you can help them understand the value of recycling you may be able to collect directly from them.
There are two primary ways to encourage recycling at the office/department level.
Offer an environmentally responsible alternative to desk drawer storage. Since the legislative push is toward recycling take advantage of it. More and more government agencies (federal, state and local) are setting up e-waste policies offer to help them comply with policy. They need to comply with these policies and do their jobs. By offering this service you may be taking a little burden off of them.
In consort with the environmental approach you may also take the philanthropic approach. You know “Help the environment AND a good cause.” Choosing to support a local charity or school may give you better chance at grabbing those old cell phones before they make it to the scrap heap.
As in any collection effort the value/convenience ratio is king. Make it easy for them; make them feel they are doing the right thing; always help them to see the value in the service you are providing.
Of course there are other ways to approach government not mentioned. The key, as always, is use imagination, hard work, and tenacity in growing your collections and you will be sucessful.
Next month – Collection Strategies: Helping Your Favorite Charity.
Mosieur operates several
cell phone recycling websites
He has been in the electronics
recycling business since 1985.
James writes and speaks on
cell phone recycling and related
subjects particularly as they
relate to the individual consumer.