Staples Offers Computer Recycling Program

Office and technology retailers Staples is joining the growing list of large corporations seeking to "think green" and improve their environmental profile by expanding its recycling and take-back programs to any brand of computer, fax machine, printer, or monitor, regardless of whether it was purchased from Staples. Large items can be recycled at any U.S. Staples store for a charge of $10 per item; Staples is working with electronics recycler Amandi Services to ensure the returned gear is handled and processed in accordance with EPA standards.

"An estimated 133,000 computers are discarded every day in the U.S.," said Mark Buckley, Staples’ VP of environmental affairs. "We know that small businesses and consumers want to recycle their used office technology but are often frustrated by the lack of convenient options available. By making it easy to recycle, Staples helps customers take action in handling e-waste in an environmentally responsible way."

Staple has offered computer recycling at its Seattle area stores for a couple years (so the company’s announcement today initially struck this Seattle area writer as "not news"!); the company has also offered in-store recycling for printer cartridges, cell phones, PDAs, and most rechargeable batteries. Expanding its take-back program to computers, monitors, fax machines, and printers regardless of manufacturer and at all the company’s U.S. locations offers many consumers an inexpensive, accessible way to recycle unneeded or no-longer working information technology without designating it—and whatever toxins it contains—to a landfill.

Consumers can drop off their unwanted equipment at Staples’ customer service desks during normal business hours. Staples will charge $10 per large item to cover transport, handling, and disassembly costs, although Staples does not plan to charge for small items like keyboards and mice. Staples is not accepting televisions and large floor-model copiers for recycling. Once accepted, gear is bagged and sealed, then sent off to Amandi Services. Staples isn’t imposing a limit on the amount of gear folks can recycle at one time, and Staples’ fee-based Easy Tech service will be available in all stores to assist with transferring data from an old computer to a new system.

"It’s not always easy being green. However, through the leadership of Staples, Americans will see that preventing pollution by recycling unwanted electronics is as easy as it gets," said Stephen L. Johnson, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "EPA and our Plug-In To eCycling partners are helping make sure yesterday’s high-tech gadgets do not go to waste."