Given my preference that old electronics be recycled, it was quite disappointing to read this article the other day on CNN about what really happens to most ‘recycled’ electronics. As they say, it’s not what you would expect. A lot of them just go to other countries, with the unusable parts still ending up in landfills.
I don’t really have a problem with usable electronics being reused. That’s a good thing. But mixing reusable with unusable and shipping the problem out is not acceptable.
Eight states so far have the right idea, in requiring manufacturers to recycle their old electronics. That needs to just be common practice. I’ve said before that I would love to see electronics stores be required to take the old electronics back. Nice, easy locations for people to get to. Perhaps a surcharge on purchases to help with the expense of doing this if necessary, and a rebate for returning products as a motivation.
It is important to note that companies like Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Sony now do take back their electronics for recycling. If they’re doing it right, this is a wonderful development.
As with any solution, it’s going to take time to get things going right. On the other hand, I do have an old, broken down Dell we hadn’t decided what to do with yet….