RealTime IT News

EBay Gets Greener

Online auction giant eBay continued its efforts to reduce the impact of e-waste on the environment today. The company announced that it has expanded its Rethink Initiative to include leading companies and organizations involved in the wireless telecommunications industry.

Launched earlier this year, the initiative, which links technology companies with government agencies, environmental groups and eBay users to promote environmentally sound recycling practices for technology products, will now add wireless industry leaders to the mix.

"Consumers, we've learned, are confused about what to do with old cell phones," Cathy Siciliano, director of cell phones and portable electronics at eBay, said. "The Rethink Initiative is to educate consumers about their options and help them to take action."

At the center of the campaign to promote the re-use and recycling of technology products, is a Web site geared toward providing information to consumers and businesses about product disposal options, including recycling and refurbishing.

"Wireless devices, including cell phones, are one of the most commonly replaced and upgraded consumer electronics products, but individuals and businesses are often at a loss when it comes to getting rid of such items in environmentally sound ways," Siciliano said.

Siciliano said a thriving secondary market on eBay for cell phones and the availability of SIM cards makes it easy for people to trade up to different phones.

"There's a lot of activity on the site; over 4,000 cell phones are sold every day," she added.

A recent study conducted by ACNielsen International Research showed that 56 percent of American households have unused working electronics, and 25 percent of those have a working cell phone that is not used. The average cell phone is replaced approximately every 18 months, according to the study.

The program will allow Wireless "Rethink" members to have their reused recycling programs placed in a "Member Solutions" section of the Rethink site, according to the company. Visitors can also access information on the site about donating their used cell phones and other consumer electronics to charity or recycling them.

The Web site also includes eBay's "Cell Phone Selling Zone," which provides tools and information about selling mobile devices on eBay. It includes a guide providing approximate values of specific cell phone makes and models and advanced solutions to simplify shipping, according to the company.