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Companies to Watch in the Ecycling Movement

As states continue to lobby companies to do more on ecycling, many brands have stepped up and established programs that make it as easy and simple for consumers to recycle their old devices as it is to purchase new ones.

This all comes at a time when Americans place high values on electronics recycling. A recent study by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ showed that 82 percent of Americans regard recycling as important or very important to them.

To help promote the importance of electronics recycling, several retailers and manufacturers have produced easy and convenient consumer-friendly recycling options. For instance, Samsung now provides prepaid shipping labels for large and small devices, from TVs to printer toner. In 2014, the Samsung Recycling Direct program helped communities recycle more than 114 million pounds of materials across the U.S. through its various recycling locations. And, in March, Samsung partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) on a national campaign to improve youngpeople’s understanding and appreciation of environmental issues like eCycling.

Retailers such as Best Buy have also been playing a key role in the industry’s ecycling efforts for years. Since establishing its ecycling program in 2008, Best Buy has recycled more electronics and appliances on behalf of American consumers than any other retailer. Over the past six years, Best Buy has recycled more than one billion pounds of electronics—and it’s aiming to collect an additional two billion pounds by 2020.

Similar industry efforts are also well-deserving of mention. Dell has a nationwide partnership with Goodwill that provides more than 2,000 places for consumers to recycle old computer equipment responsibly. DIRECTV has taken an active role in promoting high recycling standards, especially in Latin America, educating recyclers on the benefits of certification and working diligently to get more vendors certified. Hewlett-Packard offers multiple no-cost options for recycling their products at the end of life. Toshiba, Sharp and Panasonic have collected thousands of tons of products for recycling and have held community events that boost collection totals and increase ecycling awareness.

For example, last October in Hawaii CTA teamed up with LG and Electronics Recyclers International to support an annual recycling event where Hawaiian residents could recycle unwanted consumer electronics free of charge. The event collected more than two truckloads of products ranging from TV’s, cell phones and computers. The enormous success of the event was due to active collaboration of industry, the local community and the support of community leaders, including members of the Hawaii legislature and Honolulu City Council who volunteered at the event and discussed the importance of ecycling.

In addition, the rapid pace of innovation within the consumer technology industry has helped make consumer electronics the fastest-declining portion of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream according to U.S. EPA, the direct result of products that are lighter and use less materials.

The overall environmental footprint of the CE industry is shrinking due to these combined industry efforts.

Elliot Grimm, CEA