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News and ViewsAugust 24, 2022

How Charter Recycles Millions of Pounds of Electronics Annually

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More than 75 million Spectrum-provided customer devices are connected to Charter Communications’ advanced broadband network, including the set-top boxes, routers and modems that deliver our internet, video, phone and wireless services. But what happens to these devices once it is time for them to be upgraded or replaced?

That’s where Charter’s recycling team comes in. The company is doing its part to protect the environment by recycling, reusing and repurposing these devices by the millions through its internal recycling program.

In 2021, Charter collected nearly ​64 million pounds (about 29,000 metric tons) of customer premises equipment (CPE) and other materials in its facilities. This major undertaking not only helps Charter meet government standards, it is also an integral part of its commitment to protecting the environment.

Two Recycling Facilities, Two Approaches

The equipment that is returned by Charter’s 32 million-plus customers includes not only set-top boxes, routers and modems but also cell phones, tablets, remote controls, cables, power cords and other devices. Devices returned by Charter’s 93,000+ employees include laptops, tablets, phones, studio gear, diagnostic equipment, and network hardware such as switches, routers, gateways, firewalls, nodes, repeaters and servers.

About two thirds of the devices are cleaned, screened and sometimes refurbished for re-use, while about one third is shredded or dismantled by hand to be recycled.

“Every step of this process is about maximizing the reuse of the material – to make it as pure as we can for the downstream processors,” explained John Routh, Director of Asset Disposition Management for Charter. “A set-top box that comes into this facility today may come back later as a cell phone, after it makes its way through the entire recycling chain.”

It takes some heavy-duty machinery to recycle all that gear – and the process of what happens in the recycling facilities can be fascinating to watch. Check out the video below to learn more about Charter’s recycling program.


Learn more about Charter's Environmental, Social and Governance in our ESG Report.