Dell announced yesterday it was to expand its current program to allow anyone to recycle their old machines, regardless of whether the owner was purchasing a new machine or not. This is a requirement that many other companies still enforce.
With the new program, consumers will go to Dell's Web site to print out a mailing label, then contact the company's recycling office to schedule a pickup by a local recycling contractor. Many other companies, such as Hewlett-Packard and Apple have less ambitious programs. For example, HP's program accepts computers produced by other manufacturers, but customers must pay a shipping fee to send it off.
Today, fewer than 10 percent of discarded computers are recycled, with the rest ending up in landfills or stored at consumers' homes, according to the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, a nonprofit activist group. The organization estimates that about 40 percent of heavy metals found in landfills today come from discarded electronic equipment.
Today, most equipment intended for recycling in the United States is sent to developing nations, where few laws govern working conditions and environmental hazards. Dell, Apple and Hewlett-Packard, among others, have pledged to disassemble old computers only in the United States and to not ship hazardous material overseas.
News source: New York Times