The request is part of Best Buy’s new recycling program launched June 1. Best Buy is piloting the program in 117 stores, giving consumers the opportunity to dispose of old computers, televisions, cell phones and other electronic gadgets for free.
The pilot stores are located in Best Buy’s Baltimore, San Francisco and Minnesota markets. Parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia and Washington D.C. also will be included in the program.
“We hope that consumers find these drop-off locations convenient,” said company spokeswoman Nissa French, who also noted that the success of the pilot program will determine whether it is implemented in all 922 stores. “This program is all about choosing and reusing technology.”
Consumers are limited to recycling two electronic items per day. Best Buy will accept the following:
•Televisions up to 32 inches
Larger electronic items such as microwaves and air conditioners will not be accepted through the program. Best Buy, however, can arrange a home visit to remove these items for $100.
The decision to start the recycling program was influenced by As You Sow, a corporate responsibility group in California. As You Sow submitted a proposal asking Best Buy to endorse an electronics recycling program, which it later withdrew after Best Buy indicated “it was already exploring options.”
“Having an electronics recycling program is vital,” said Conrad MacKerron, director of As You Sow’s corporate responsibility program. “It is reduces the amount of toxins at our landfills, and there is so much that can be done with the plastic and metals in electronics.”
He hopes corporations such as Wal-Mart and Circuit City embrace similar programs.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, electronic waste is an increasing problem. EPA’s most recent statistics reveal that discarded televisions, computers and cell phones totaled about 2 million tons in 2005. From that number, 80 to 85 percent were discarded primarily at landfills.
Best Buy says it is taking steps to reduce that number. Last year, the company recycled 20 millions pounds of electronic waste and 77 million appliances, through existing Best Buy recycling initiatives that include kiosks at its stores, television and appliance pick up and tech trade-ins.
“Protecting the environment is a shared responsibility between the manufacturer, retailer and consumer,” French said.
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