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Manufacturers, Retailers Boost Consumer Electronics Recycling

Release Date: 01/08/2009
Contact Information: Latisha Petteway, (202) 564-4355 / petteway.latisha@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - Jan. 8, 2009) 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. Plug-In To eCycling is a partnership between 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.

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 in the U.S.;
  • 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 in the US, 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 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;
  • 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 takeback services for any brand of selected consumer electronics;
  • Free in-store takeback or mail-in recycling programs for cell phones and other mobile devices available from all Plug-In carriers or cell phone manufacturers.

Since the program’s inception in 2003, Plug-In partners have recycled more than 200 million pounds of electronics.

More information about the Plug-In to eCycling program and a list of partners: http://www.epa.gov/plugin/