Sam’s Club Goes eGreen

Last weekend, I drove 18 miles to recycle a carload of used computers, monitors, keyboards, printers, and other electronic equipment. A local township was sponsoring the event, and since they didn’t have a limit on the number of items you could drop off, it was worth the drive. I had some other options — including some online recycling services — but this was the most convenient and it was free.

Now comes news of a service that I might have used instead had it been available. Sam’s Club has just announced ecoNEW, an online recycling program available for Sam’s Club members. You can find out the details at www.econewonline.com/samsclub, where you’ll find that it has a number of attractive features. According to the company’s press release, the program accepts just about everything: ” LCD monitors, digital cameras, PC desktops and laptops, gaming systems, MP3 players, camcorders, and printers.” (Unfortunately, there’s no mention of televisions.) Not only does it not cost you anything to recycle the products, but if they have a trade-in value, you’ll actually get money back in the form of a Sam’s Club gift card. And if the item does not have a trade-in value, you can still print out a pre-paid shipping label that lets you ship the item to the recycling center for free.

In addition to all this, the program has a “no export and no landfill” guarantee. One of the problems with some recycling programs is that the electronics are shipped by the container load to other countries where workers often are exposed to unsafe conditions as they try to extract the valuable parts of the products. All products in the ecoNEW program will be either refurbished or parted out as components and resold, or they will be broken down into raw materials that will be reused.

It would be enough to make me join Sam’s Club (if I hadn’t just taken all those computers to be recycled).