Monday, February 25, 2008

Take Back Programs

The blog below by Millennial 4 Earth about the Nike take back program made me think about what other big companies are doing. Whether the reason is customer demand, a tidy profit in the resale market, or out of civic responsibility, many big companies are getting in the act. Fewer electronics that we use in our offices and homes are ending up in landfills after their "useful" life and polluting our soil and water. Here is a compilation of some of the "greatest hits".

The Apple free computer take-back program offers US customers environmentally friendly recycling of their old computer when they buy a new Mac®.  The Apple Store® ( and Apple retail stores gives customers the option of recycling their unwanted PCs, regardless of the manufacturer.

Responsible Manufacturing

Apple plans to completely eliminate the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in its products, and arsenic in the glass of flat-panel displays by the end of 2008.  Apple helps to safeguard the environment — as well as consumers’ safety — by restricting the use of environmentally harmful compounds in materials and the manufacturing processes. 

Energy Efficiency

A device’s greatest environmental impact is often its energy consumption over time. Apple has made great strides in recent years to optimize the energy efficiency of hardware and created
tools, such as the Energy Saver feature in Mac OS X, that allow consumers to manage the power consumption of computers.  Since 2001, all Apple desktop computers, portable computers, and displays have earned the ENERGY STAR® rating


Apple’s holistic approach to recycling — encompassing a product’s entire lifecycle — includes extensive take-back programs that enable consumers and businesses to dispose of used Apple equipment in an environmentally sound manner. Since the first take-back initiative began in Germany in 1994, Apple has launched programs in the United States, Canada, Japan, and throughout Europe, diverting over 34 million pounds of electronic equipment from landfills worldwide.

Sony's take back program has been ongoing since 2000. Sony teamed up with Waste Management and built a recycling program that makes it easy to dispose of electronics in an environmentally-safe way. Bring your unwanted Sony product to any participating Waste Management eCycling drop-off center (in every state) and recycle it for free.  Waste Management will collect, store, track inventory and dismantle the products into the form of common raw materials where they can be bought and sold on the global market. In some cases, it is likely that recycled plastics will be purchased for reforming into a new current model electronic product.

Additionally, as a member of the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), Sony encourages consumers to recycle their used rechargeable batteries through RBRC’s recycling program, “Call2Recycle.”

These programs are part of Sony's broader global commitment to environmental stewardship, which spans product design, recycling, facilities management and energy conservation across all categories.

Dell offers consumers the opportunity to recycle unwanted Dell-branded Product for free. Plus, if you buy a new Dell desktop or notebook and select the free recycling option at the time of purchase, they will recycle your old PC and monitor at no cost to you (even if it isn't a Dell-branded Product.)

Panasonic has teamed up with the Electronic Industries Alliance to provide consumers with an interactive website to help them locate nearby recycling facilities. EIA’s Consumer Education Initiative helps consumers easily find convenient nearby collections sites and provides guidance on other reuse and recycling options. As a service to all Panasonic mobile computer individual and organizational customers, Panasonic, through its partner PlanITROI, offers three interconnected, retired IT Asset solutions covering product remarketing, reuse, or recycling. Each option for Panasonic's Toughbook® mobile computers offers the assurance that the units will receive proper, environmentally sound disposal at their useful end of life. All units handled under the PlanITROI's recycling process are managed in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPEAT standards. The process works the same for all customers and is free of charge. In addition, all units are handled in accordance with U.S. Department of Defense standards for data removal.

Best Buy now offers grants to help increase the recycling opportunities available in communities across the country. Grants range from $500 to $1,500 per event, depending on the size of and scope of the program hosted by nonprofit organizations, cities, counties, or public-private partnerships.

Free recycling drop-off kiosks – these kiosks, just inside the door of every single U.S. Best Buy store, are available for consumers to drop off old cell phones, rechargeable batteries, and ink-jet cartridges at no cost.

Appliance Recycling – Best Buy will remove an old or obsolete appliance at no charge from a consumers’ home when a new product is purchased and is being delivered to the home by Best Buy Home Delivery or Geek Squad.

Television Recycling – Best Buy will remove an old or obsolete television at no charge from a consumers’ home when a new product is purchased and is being delivered to the home by Best Buy Home Delivery or Geek Squad.

Mail-in cell phone recycling – New cell phone customers receive free, postage-paid envelopes to mail old phones to ReCellular, our cell phone reuse/recycling partner. In turn, ReCellular donates dollars from their recycling program to Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Recycling events – Best Buy hosts and/or sponsors a series of weekend recycling events at its store parking lots across the U.S.

Best Buy is a member of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Plug-In to eCycling program - , in which it worked with other member retailers and electronics manufacturers in 2007 to voluntarily recycle more than 34 million pounds of electronics in 2007.

Electronics Industry Code of Conduct (EICC) – Best Buy is a proud member of the EICC, a coalition of 26 multinational corporations and manufacturers that deliver the consumer electronics in demand around the world.

Nokia applies product life-cycle thinking across its entire operations.  Design for Environment is a key first step that minimizes the environmental impact over the entire product life cycle, starting from materials management, and ending with take-back and recycling.  Environmental requirements are extended by Nokia Siemens to its suppliers, while the Environmental Management System manages the environmental impact of Nokia Siemens' own activities. At the end of the product life cycle, take-back, reuse and recycling services for equipment ensure recovery of material and secure safe disposal of substances.

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