In 2008 the EPA Plug-In To eCycling Program collected 66.5 million pounds of used electronics and gadgets through their Plug-In To eCycling Partners. Through these efforts, the EPA reports that the recycling of these items helped save enough energy to power over fourteen thousand U.S. homes for over a year. Their partner list includes most of the big players in the cellular service industry as well as mobile device manufacturers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, LG Electronics, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson to name a few. PC retailers such as Best Buy, Dell, Intel, and Walmart (as well as PC component manufacturers) are also among the parters named.
In the realm of partner accomplishments, Best Buy collected over 20 million pounds of electronic recyclables in 2006. In-store recycling kiosks at Best Buy retail stores enabled customers to participate in this effort. Office Depot offers another method for recycling your old electronics. You can purchase a small ($5), medium ($10), or large ($15) recycling box, fill with any combination of old electronics and then drop the box off at any Office Depot location. The fee pays for the box and shipping service. Once inspected by a store associate (to make sure the items are indeed recyclable), the box is sealed and shipped to a recycling center where the old electronics are crushed and sorted into raw materials.
The success of this program is a clear sign of the responsibility that large corporations have regarding their participation in recycling the products they manufacture and sell to consumers. As green computing initiatives continue to “sprout up” in the information technology realm, there should be no excuse for consumers to simply toss their used devices into the trash. After all, the responsibility of the consumer is an equally important part of the recycling process. Chances are, your local government offices may also have e-cycling programs in place through libraries or schools. Take advantage of these recycling opportunies as you acquire new devices and get rid of your used/damaged devices. Think green!