Last month, HP announced that it had recycled almost 250 million pounds of electronics hardware and related consumables in 2007. According to the company’s press release, this was equivalent to two Titanics. HP has already recycled more than 1 billion pounds of electronics, and has now set a goal of 2 billion pounds by 2010. Since the recycle amount for 2007 was 50% more than in 2006, they should be able to make that goal if their program keeps growing.
Not all of the equipment got recycled, either. An additional 65 million pounds was refurbished and either resold or donated.
The problems posed by electronic waste are serious challenges, both in terms of economics and potential impact on the environment. We currently are in the middle of an accelerated replacement cycle for televisions due to the impending switchover to digital broadcasts and the advent of HD content. But other consumer and business electronics are also piling up, from cell phones to personal computers and monitors.
Fortunately, businesses and individual consumers have many options besides landfills for their unwanted electronics. Many states set up free hazardous waste collection programs, and they often accept electronic equipment. Check with your state department of environmental resources to see if there are any collection events scheduled in your area. If the equipment is still functional, you may find charitable agencies that are will to take them to refurbish and resell or donate. And there are commerical recyclers that will take your equipment for a small fee.
You can find some of your recycling and donating options listed at a site hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/recycle/ecycling/donate.htm. Let’s all try to do our part to keep a few more Titanics out of the nation’s landfills.