The service, which begins next week, is intended to help address environmental concerns over the toxins that can emanate from improperly discarded computers and other electronics.
“If we can make it easier and more convenient, more people will recycle,” John Hamlin, Dell’s senior vice president of U.S. consumer business, said in a conference call with reporters yesterday.
Starting Tuesday, consumers will be able to go to Dell’s Web site and pay $15 per item for Airborne Express to whisk away old printers, desktops, laptops or monitors (consumers will still have to box up the old equipment themselves).
Donated PCs that are still useable will go to the National Cristina Foundation, a nonprofit organization that distributes computer equipment to schools and organizations for the disabled.
“Most computers that are too old for consumers have years of life left in them for use by organizations serving those in need who can’t afford new technology,” said Yvette Marrin, president of the foundation.
This is not Dell’s first step into getting consumers and business customers to recycle their old computers, but it does represent a slightly easier solution than what the company offered previously. Before this program, consumers had to bring used equipment to shippers and pay $20 to $50 for delivery.
Consumers recycled 1,000 systems through Dell last year under a previous recycling program. The company has disposed of 2 million business systems since it began a recycling program in 1991.
Dell isn’t the only computer company trying to get consumers to recycle. Hewlett-Packard Co. charges consumers $13 to $34, depending on the item, and also passes on the used equipment to nonprofits or breaks it down to key commodities, depending on its condition.
Gateway Inc., meanwhile, started a program last year in which it offers consumers a rebate when they purchase PCs or other products and trade in a PC or a related piece of equipment.