August 26, 2013

As part of its corporate social responsibility efforts, Citi has partnered with Ohio-based e-Cycle, to recycle electronic devices that were collected by the bank, which would ultimately help prevent them from ending up in landfills and leaking toxins into the environment.

e-Cycle paid Citi $63,175 for the seven thousand phones it collected. Citi then in turn donated the profits to The Hunger Project, Wounded Warrior Project and The Floating Hospital.

“With the other recyclers we worked with, if the phones were broken or shattered, they had no monetary value so we would not get anything for it,” Irene Blake, wireless campaign coordinator at Citi. “E-Cycle gave us 2 dollars no matter what condition was, which gave us more to donate to charity.”

Prior to the e-Cycle partnership, Citi recycled mobile devices through Verizon, which did not pay for broken devices and had a limited number of charities associated with it, said the bank. Verizon also required a time-consuming inventory of all devices that needed to be disposed, according to Blake.

e-Cycle collects and pays for mobile phones from companies throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. Companies like Citi work with a representative from e-Cycle to streamline the process.

Citi employees were able to recycle their work phones provided by Citi as well as ones purchased for personal use.

After the devices were collected, they went through a multi-step data-wiping process like factory resetting and overwriting any data that may remain.

“When you’re dealing with Fortune 500 clients, Fortune 20 clients, major financial institutions, healthcare systems, government agencies, there’s no room for any data to escape,” says Paulie Anthony, director of marketing at e-Cycle.

For devices that can no longer function but may still be a data security risk, they were shredded on-site. All metals from batteries are sent to refineries where they are melted down and turned into new products.

e-Cycle is funded by reselling the devices to wholesalers oversees in marketplaces that are unable to get these phones new but rely on mobile applications for commerce.

[See Also: Citi Pursues 'Smart Banking' Branches]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zarna Patel is a staff writer for InformationWeek's Financial Services brands, which include Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology. She received ...