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EPA praises electronics recycling pilot.

A trial effort to evaluate the feasibility of consumer electronics recycling on a large scale shows that such items can be easily recycled at low cost to consumers and retailers, according to a press release from the U.S. EPA.

An analysis of the pilot program held in mid-2004 was recently completed. EPA, Staples Inc. and the Boston-based Product Stewardship Institute Inc. (PSI) collaborated on the pilot, which sought to determine if a major retailer could provide electronics recycling services to its retail and commercial customers within the company's existing distribution infrastructure. The pilot was conducted with the help of an EPA grant of more than $46,000.

"The successful 'eCycling' pilot shows that consumers and businesses will respond, if given the chance to recycle consumer electronics," Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office, says.

"This pilot project shows without a doubt that retailers and manufacturers can work with their customers to recycle computer equipment in an environmentally responsible and cost effective manner," Scott Cassel, executive director of the Product Stewardship Institute, says. "This is a model that works, saves resources and can ultimately be expanded to other product areas."

The project collected unwanted electronic equipment sold by Staples (including laptops, computer processing units, monitors, printers, fax machines and small peripheral devices) from retail and commercial customers and provided recycling services using "reverse logistics" using Staples' delivery trucks and product distribution network.

The EPA concludes that the retail collection model appears to be a viable option to complement and expand the existing electronic scrap collection infrastructure, though retailers may conclude that nominal user fees need to be charged to consumers to offset the collection and recycling costs.

The pilots collected and recycled a total of 57 tons of electronics during several months in mid-2004.

In one program, Staples collected electronic equipment from retail customers at 27 Staples retail stores in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island during a six-week period.

In a second program, Staples collected electronic equipment from 14 existing commercial customers in Massachusetts, Main and New Hampshire that typically receive direct delivery of products at their place of business. This pilot tested the "reverse logistics" transportation model. The collected equipment was back-hauled by delivery carriers, consolidated at distribution and fulfillment centers then transported to Envirocycle, an electronics recycler in Hallstead, Penn.
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Publication:Recycling Today
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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