The U.S. EPA recently announced a 30 percent increase in electronics recycling through its Plug-In to eCycling program, recycling more than 66.5 million pounds of used electronics in 2008.
Plug-In To eCycling is a partnership between the EPA and leading consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers that fosters opportunities for consumers to donate or recycle their 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.”
Recycling electronics conserves resources and energy needed to manufacture new materials. In 2008, Plug-In partners prevented the release of greenhouse gases equal to the annual emissions from approximately 15,500 cars.
The e-waste programs 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.
Highlights from some of the Plug-In partners include:
- Dell/Staples – Consumers can recycle any Dell-branded computer product for free at any Staples store in the U.S.
- Best Buy – A pilot program at 134 stores to test in-store take back of selected consumer electronics
- Sony - An expansion of its partnership with Waste Management to more than 160 drop-off locations in the U.S., where consumers can recycle any Sony-branded products for free
- LG - The launch of its partnership with Waste Management, also offering free recycling of LG, Zenith and Goldstar brands
- Samsung – The company’s Recycling Direct program, available at more than 170 U.S. 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
- Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company – A partnership between Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba and Goodwill Industries of Central Texas to pilot television collection and recycling
- Toshiba – The company’s free online takeback services for any brand of selected consumer electronics
Since the program’s inception in 2003, Plug-In partners have recycled more than 200 million pounds of electronics.