A very encouraging development from Best Buy:
Under pressure to help dispose some of the electronic waste it helped create, Best Buy Co. is testing a free program that will offer consumers a convenient way to ensure millions of obsolescent TVs, old computers and other unwanted gadgets don’t poison the nation’s dumps.
I’m always amazed at how difficult it still seems to be to do simple ‘green’ things like recycle or properly dispose of your waste. You know you’re not supposed to throw your electronics in with the regular trash, but you can’t put them in your recycling bin either, so what do you do? Currently, you have to contact a group like Colorado’s own Eco-Cycle and find a local recycling center where you can drop it off and also pay a fee while you’re at it. Or, depending on the manufacturer of your equipment you can sometimes return it straight to them. Dell has implemented a great, free, recycling program for their branded equipment and, if you purchase new equipment from them, they’ll even offer to recycle your old PC and monitor for free as well. The only problem is, Dell is out in front in a lot of ways and there are just as many major manufacturers that either don’t make it easy for you to recycle their equipment or they charge you a fee for doing so.
Recycling is something that we need to make as easy as possible for as many people as possible. That’s why curbside pickup changed the face of recycling as we know it. Can you imagine how much less would be recycled every day if it required a trip to the recycling plant instead of dropping those items in your bin? Or if you had to go online and fill out a form to get the items recycled? Right now, when it comes to electronic waste, that’s exactly what you have to do. So we’ve got TV’s, computers and more going right in the trash and heading to the landfill because the process isn’t as easy as it needs to be.
Best Buy free drop-offs are definitely not the solution, but they’re certainly a step in the right direction if the other major retailers like Wal-Mart, Circuit City, etc. join suit. It still requires you to load up your equipment and drive to the store, but you’re driving to a store you likely shop for electronics at anyways and you’re not forced to head out to the recycling plant on the edge of town. It may sound like we need to cater to laziness when it comes to recycling, and that is true in a way, but you can’t drastically change the behavior of millions over night.
Let me know if you live in an area where Best Buy is testing the new recycling program (it’s currently in Northern California, Minneapolis and Baltimore, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia and Washington, D.C.). Are the bins overflowing? How are they advertised and placed throughout the store?