Sharp, Toshiba, Panasonic Do Recycling

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Although most of the news from CES was about new products—and products that maybe, someday, might exist—one little bit of news from the show kinda slipped under the radar: consumer electronics giants Panasonic, Sharp, and Toshiba have gone in on a joint venture, Electronics Manufacturers Recycling Management (MRM) to offer U.S. consumers free recycling for their products at centers throughout the United States (PDF). The service already has collection points up and running in every state and plans to expand the network to include additional locations, with as many as 800 locations online by the end of 2011. Currently, the program boasts 280 collection points.

"MRM is focused on enhancing the environmental sustainability of individual company brands and product offerings through convenient, environmentally sound, and efficient recycling," said MRM President David Thompson, in a statement. "With the establishment of the nationwide recycling program, one of most comprehensive in the industry, we have proven that collaborative effort is the most effective way to provide consumers with convenient recycling opportunities."

Consumers can bring televisions, computers, phones, and other consumer electronics items manufactured by the three companies for no-cost recycling. Most of the centers also accept products from other consumers electronics manufacturers, although there may be a charge to process some products from different manufacturers. The details vary state by state; for instance, some states require consumer electronics manufacturers to pay for recycling costs of their goods.

MRM says it is committed to responsible recycling practices and won’t ship waste overseas for processing or employ prison labor. MRM is also working with Eco International to use public storage sites as recycling centers, and has partnered with CRT-Processing, Creative Recycling Systems, and Materials Processing Corporation.

Major consumer electronics retailers and manufacturers have been ramping up their recycling efforts, both as U.S. states begin passing laws mandating manufacturers pay the cost for reclaiming and recycling their "e-waste," and as environmental groups like Greenpeace highlight the human and environmental dangers of shipping consumer electronics goods overseas for disposal and recycling.

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