Manufacturers, Retailers Boost Consumer Recycling

Plug-In to eCycling partners expanded their electronics recycling programs and collected and recycled more than 66.5 million pounds of used electronics in 2008, nearly a 30 percent increase from the previous year, according to a Jan. 8 press release.

The program is a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and leading consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers that fosters opportunities for consumers to donate or recycle used electronics.

“Our Plug-In partners are continuing to develop programs that help consumers protect the environment,” said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “It’s exciting to see these programs mature rapidly at a time when people are increasingly looking for ways to do their part by recycling their used electronics.”

In 2008, Plug-In partners prevented the release of greenhouse gases equal to the annual emissions from approximately 15,500 cars.

Plug-In partners have tailored the collection of consumer electronics for reuse and recycling in a variety of ways, such as in-store take-back, mail-in recycling, online trade-in, and hosting local collection events.

Notable programs and new partnerships developed in 2008 include:

• Dell/Staples partnership, where consumers can recycle any Dell-branded computer product for free at any Staples store;

• Best Buy’s pilot program at 134 stores to test in-store take-back of selected consumer electronics;

• Sony’s expansion of its partnership with Waste Management to more than 160 drop-off locations, where consumers can recycle any Sony-branded products, including televisions, at no cost;

• LG’s launch of its partnership with Waste Management, also offering free recycling of LG, Zenith, and Goldstar brands;

• Samsung’s Recycling Direct program, available at more than 170 locations and its partnership with Walmart, in which Durabrand and Ilo electronic products (two private brands formerly sold by Walmart) can be recycled at Samsung’s Recycling Direct locations; 

• Partnership between Panasonic, Sharp, and Toshiba (via their recycling platform, the Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company) and Goodwill Industries of Central Texas to pilot television collection and recycling;

• Toshiba’s free online take-back services for any brand of selected consumer electronics;

• Free in-store take-back or mail-in recycling programs for cell phones and other mobile devices available from all Plug-In carriers or cell phone manufacturers.

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