company: Apple Computer, Compaq, Dell Computer Corp., Epson, Hewlett Packard (HP), IBM, Intel, Philips Electronics, Sharp Electronics, Sony Electronics, Xerox
country: check by company
product: electronics goods recycling & take-back services
distribution: check by company
intro: these days, electronics waste (e-waste) is becoming one of the most increasing and dangerous phenomena worldwide. It is therefore fundamental to orientate the consumer’s choice in the purchase of electronics goods – and specifically computers – by informing them about those companies that (more or less recently) adopted effective environmental strategies such as ecodesign (or Design for the Environment, DfE), strong recycling programmes and take-back services.
The following - NOT exhaustive - list includes some of the best known companies globally:
Apple Computer | Compaq | Dell Computer Corp. | Epson | Hewlett Packard (HP) | IBM’s PC Recycling Service | Intel | Philips Electronics | Sony Electronics | Xerox
Apple Computer designs its products for ease of assembly and disassembly. Apple is also taking steps to increase recyclability by using materials that can be easily recycled, marking materials with international recycling codes, standardising designs and components to facilitate material use along product lines, and reducing the weight and material used in products. In some countries Apple promotes the recycling of products through their own take-back initiatives and through national collective take-back programs. The common goal of these efforts is to divert used equipment and packaging from landfill. Apple provides details at the following web page on the company packaging and equipment take-back services in the U.S. and Canada, Europe-15, Japan and Taiwan. [www.apple.com/environment/recycling/nationalservices/]
Compaq focuses on environmental stewardship during every phase of the product lifecycle. For example, when Compaq engineers begin the design of a computer, they consider the environmental impact of its component parts and their readiness for recycling when the computer is no longer useful. Many of its products are designed to be easy to upgrade. For example, its notebook computer designs incorporate modular drive designs so that a user can interchange different hard drives, floppy drives, and CD-ROM drives in the same drive bays. Compaq utilises many different product take-back programs around the world, depending on regional legislation, take back capabilities and infrastructure. [h18000.www1.hp.com/corporate/ehss/2001rpt/products.html]
Dell Computer Corp. has launched an online system in the USA that provides consumers with three options for dealing with end-of-life computers: 1) pay Dell $15 to pick up end-of-life equipment from your home for shipping to a recycling centre; 2) donate the equipment through the National Cristina Foundation; or 3) auction it off through www.dellauction.com. Dell accepts non-Dell computers.
As part of a move toward an entirely ‘green’ product range, Dell is manufacturing a line of professional-level computers that are completely recyclable. Dell's OptiPlex PCs meet the stringent standards for Germany's Blue Angel environmental label, which is awarded to those products that combine improved longevity of the system and its components with a recyclable design and the opportunity to reuse and recycle used products or product components. All of the materials in the PCs are labelled for easy recycling. [www1.us.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/dell_recycling?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs]
Epson has launched an online recycling program that allows consumers to ship back the company’s branded products for recycling. Consumers pay a fee to cover the cost of shipping and recycling of EPSON computers or peripherals, including printers, scanners, digital cameras, laptops, and projectors. By participating in this program, you'll receive a $5 coupon per item returned, that can be used on your next purchase. All products returned through the recycling program are sent to a licensed recycling facility where components are shredded and then separated for reuse. [www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/Recycle/RecycleProgram.jsp]
Hewlett Packard (HP) has incorporated design improvements that facilitate disassembly and has initiated a computer hardware take-back program. In May 2001, HP announced that it will take-back computer hardware from any manufacturer. The cost of this service ranges from $13 to $34 per item, depending upon the type and quantity of hardware to be returned. HP will assess all returned hardware to determine if it meets minimum criteria for donating to non-profit organisations. [www.hp.com/hpinfo/globalcitizenship/environment/return/index.html]
IBM’s PC Recycling Service allows consumers and small businesses to recycle any manufacturer’s PC, including peripherals. Depending on its age and performance capability, the computer will either be recycled in an environmentally responsible manner or refurbished for donation through “Gifts in Kind International”. If the computer can be donated, the donor receives a receipt which can be used for tax deduction purposes. Customers can purchase the recycling service when they buy a new IBM computer. [www.ibm.com/ibm/environment]
Intel has a number of product stewardship initiatives underway, including a design project involving an industry group to standardise server building blocks, such as the chassis, power supplies, and boards. This standardisation allows consumers to upgrade, add, or remove components without having to purchase an entirely new system.
StRUT (Students Recycling Used Technology) was founded in 1995 by Intel and other industry and education partners as a non-profit organisation. Students involved in StRUT evaluate, repair and refurbish donated computers and in then donate these computers to local schools. Students gain valuable skills, schools get free computers, and used technology is diverted from area landfills.
Intel joined the EPA's Plug-IN to eCycling effort in 2003 and 2004 as a leadership partner. The Plug-In to eCycling Campaign is one of many new efforts under EPA's Resource Conservation Challenge, which seeks to increase the national recycling rate to 35% and cut the generation of 30 harmful chemicals by 2005.
Philips Electronics has a strong global ecodesign program, supported by the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Philips believes that ecodesign principles can provide a strong basis for enhancing business, and that ecodesign is not chiefly a technical activity anymore, but a concept to be embedded in the business value chain. The company's EcoVision program aims to integrate ecodesign into every aspect of product development across all product divisions, focusing on five key areas: weight, hazardous substances, energy use, recycling, and packaging. Within Philips, business divisions are being challenged to develop and market Green Flagship products. Between 1994 and 2001, Philips reduced industrial waste by 60% and packaging by 21%. At Philips, end-of-life management primarily entails participation in national take-back initiatives and recycling programs whenever possible, preferably in co-operation with competitors.
Sony Electronics aims to reduce its products' power consumption by 30% by 2005, compared to average energy consumption of products manufactured in 2000. Many of the company's products have other environmental features as well. For example, the body and mounting brackets of one of its computer lines are aluminium for easy recycling. The product is packaged only in cardboard. Another laptop computer is constructed with a rigid magnesium alloy for all four sides, which reduces the use of plastic and makes the product easier to recycle. The company also uses a type of paper packaging called "Bee Board”, which has unique shock-absorbing capabilities because of its honeycomb construction. A hollow construction enables designers to use paper and to make the overall material lighter.
Since October 2003, in Japan the Law for the Promotion of Effective Utilisation of Resources has required the recycling of computers used by private citizens, in addition to the recycling of personal computers discarded by corporate users which was already underway. In fiscal 2003, about 5,000 Sony-manufactured personal computers (*2) were collected and dismantled to separate metals, plastics and rechargeable batteries for recycling. [www.sony.net/SonyInfo/Environment/recycle/japan/index.html]
Xerox is taking greater responsibility for its products at end-of-life by employing DfE principles and increasing take-back and remanufacturing of its durable as well as consumable products. Xerox's asset recycling program is encouraging customers to return a wide range of products, including printers and toner bottles. Employees disassemble and sort parts from returned equipment that meet internal criteria for remanufacturing. Remanufactured parts are incorporated into new products. Parts that do not meet remanufacturing criteria and cannot be repaired are ground, melted, or otherwise converted into basic raw materials. The company integrates remanufacturing into the same assembly lines that produce new products. To achieve the company's zero waste goal, the eventual recycling of products is anticipated in product design. [www.xerox.com/go/xrx/template/020e.jsp?Xcntry=USA&Xlang=en_US]