Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Staples Announces US-Wide Computer Recycling

The United States generates almost 5 million tonnes of e-waste each year. Now the world's largest office products company has launched a US-wide recycling program that should begin to reduce that number.

Staples new nationwide computer recycling program will accept all brands of computers, regardless of where they were purchased. Small items such as keyboards and mice will be accepted at no charge, while larger items will be charged $10 to cover handling, transport, product disassembly and recycling. The move adds to an existing program that already accepts smaller devices like cell phones, pagers and digital cameras free of charge, and Staples is insisting that the recycling will be done both domestically and responsibly.

Staples said its program will ship the devices for domestic recycling by Vestal, N.Y.-based Amandi Services, which Staples calls "one of the country's most experienced and innovative electronics recyclers." Amandi complies with federal standards for electronics recycling and will take steps to ensure personal data stored on old computers aren't compromised, Staples says.

"We're not shipping products overseas, and we have a strict chain of custody to make sure we know where these materials are going," Buckley said.

Some critics are calling for them to drop the $10 charge and perform the service for free, but let's be realistic. Staples is a business not a charity, and the fact that they are offering this program free for most items is good news. Also, seeing as most computers are purchased as replacements for outdated models, it's fair to say that if you can afford to drop $1,000 on a new computer, you can also afford another $10 to ensure that the toxic waste from your old model does not end up in an Asian garbage dump.

Details of the program as follows:

- Customers drop off their old equipment at the customer service desk at any Staples store, 7 days a week during regular store hours; (TV’s and large, floor-model copiers are not accepted).

- Staples will recycle any manufacturers’ products, regardless of whether or not it was purchased from Staples, and there’s no limit on the quantity of equipment that can be recycled.

- A recycling fee of $10 per piece of large equipment is charged to cover handling, transport, product disassembly and recycling. Smaller computer peripherals, such as keyboards and mice, will be recycled for free.

- Staples Easy Techsm service is on site in all stores to transfer data from an old computer to a new one for a fee.


Alex Muller said...

Hey I was wondering what anyone thought of this article: http://thenewsroom.com/details/329988/Business?c_id=adm It's kind of interesting and it makes you think about global warming from an economic standpoint. Do you think anyone in the United States government might be into this type of thing? How does stuff like this affect the energy crisis?

E. R. Dunhill said...

If the consumer would abandon the notion of waste being “thrown away”, the Staples business model for charging for recycling makes absolute sense. The consumer is paying for a service- a better service. I think a large enough percentage of the population still has such an unrealistic concept of the waste stream that Staples has a hard-sell ahead of them.

Interesting article, if a bit brief. I’d be more than happy to discuss it, but I hate to clutter Conscious Earth’s space with outside threads. Do you keep a blog where you post this sort of thing? I only saw the Collegian on your profile.


Odiyya said...

You're right. Staples does have some salesmanship ahead of them on this. But the very fact that they offer to do something at a reasonable cost should make things a wee bit better than they were.

Alex - Interesting question you bring up. My own take is that corrpution does go on in US policy. however, the US has become much better at it. Rather than paying politicians outright bribes the exchanges take more subtle, but equally powerful forms - revolving door employment between gov and the private sector, awarding no bid contracts (haliburton), appointing energy personnel to key policy positions etc.

In that form, many people fail to realize that corruption is even taking place, which makes it a far more insidious and dangerous entity.