Best Buy, Dell, HP and Samsung have won the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) inaugural eCycling Leadership Award, which recognizes consumer electronics companies that recycle above and beyond levels mandated by government.
In 2011, CEA announced the eCycling Leadership Initiative to increase the amount of recycled consumer electronics to one billion pounds annually by 2016, an effort known as the Billion Pound Challenge. CEA says the industry is on track to meet this goal by recycling 585 million pounds of products in 2012.
"We want to make recycling electronics as easy as buying electronics," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. "Each of these companies offers national-scale responsible recycling opportunities to consumers and exemplifies our industry's commitment to environmental stewardship."
CEA recognized each company for notable achievements:
Best Buy — Maintained more than 1,300 collection points for e-waste collection activities at all of its retail locations throughout the 50 states and Puerto Rico. Through various marketing means, the company drove awareness around its collection and recycling program and increased collections by 20 percent to nearly 100 million pounds last year.
Dell — Partnered with Goodwill Industries to offer Dell Reconnect, a free residential recycling program. Since its inception in 2004, the program has responsibly recycled more than 253 million pounds of electronic equipment at more than 2,000 Goodwill donation sites across the US.
HP — Grew its electronics recycling from around 300 collection sites to roughly 3,700 nationwide by working with FedEx Office and Staples.
Samsung — Through its Recycling Direct program, offered collection opportunities in all 50 states. Since 2009, the program has responsibly recycled more than 275 million pounds from U.S. consumers.
Best Buy also received accolades for its electronics recycling earlier this year, along with Office Depot and Staples, when the Electronics Takeback Coalition (ETB) released its report card, which graded the top 16 consumer electronics retailers’ recycling programs in the U.S. But more than half of the retailers flunked, and the ETB is calling on the other retailers to do their part to make it as easy to recycle as it is to buy electronics from them.
In related news, a team of Hong Kong researchers in August found a way to use ground-up circuit boards from discarded cell phones, computers and other gadgets to absorb toxic heavy metals found in water. This could help reduce the 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste produced globally each year, most of which is incinerated or dumped into landfills.