Print 33 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Aug 21 at 8:44 PM

Sony sets goal of recycling one pound of old electronics for every pound of new products sold

Sony wants its stuff back – but only if you’re done with it. Sony Electronics announced a new national recycling program for consumer electronics, called the Sony Take Back Recycling Program, which allows consumers to recycle all Sony-branded products for no fee at 75 Waste Management (WM) Recycle America eCycling drop-off centers throughout the U.S (PDF).

The program also allows consumers to recycle other manufacturers' consumer electronics products at market prices, and may include a recycling fee for some types of materials.

The program, which begins on September 15, was developed in collaboration with WM Recycle America, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Waste Management, Inc.

As the Sony Take Back Recycling program expands, the number of eCycling drop-off centers will increase to at least 150 sites within a year, with at least one location in every state through a combination of WM Recycle America locales and WM external service partners. Sony and WM Recycle America are also working towards the goal of having enough drop-off locations in all 50 states so there is a recycling center within 20 miles of 95 percent of the U.S. population.

"Providing the highest level of service and support doesn't stop once a purchase is made. We believe it is Sony's responsibility to provide customers with end-of-life solutions for all the products we manufacture," said Stan Glasgow, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics. "Through the Take Back Recycling Program, our customers will know that their Sony products will be recycled in an environmentally responsible manner."

Glasgow said that by making the recycling of Sony products easy and convenient, the company expects to reach its goal of recycling one pound of old consumer electronics equipment for every pound of new products sold.

A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showed that in 2005 used or unwanted electronics amounted to about 1.9 to 2.2 million tons. Of that, some 1.5 to 1.9 million tons was primarily discarded in landfills, and only 345,000 to 379,000 tons were recycled.

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RE: Good idea
By marvdmartian on 8/17/2007 11:02:56 AM , Rating: 2
You know, while I can't speak of other locations, and certainly not of larger cities, where I live (in TX), there's no recycling fee........mostly because there's no recycling required! You wanna charge me to recycle this electronic item? Screw that, it's going in the garbage!!

Now, I do support recycling of old electronics, mostly because I understand what throwing them in landfills does to the soil & water table, and realize how much we save on precious metals by not just throwing them out. But in areas like mine, where people can throw them out just as easily as recycle them, there's no incentive to recycle!

While I applaud Sony for their part in allowing people in other areas of the country to recycle their used electronics, the very thought of having to pay someone to take my old electronics is foreign to me, and (IMHO) not something that's ever going to encourage people to recycle. In my mind, if they want old electronics recycled, they need to make it zero cost to the consumer, to encourage the practise. Let's face it, they're not losing money on recycling, are they?

RE: Good idea
By psychmike on 8/17/2007 11:27:47 AM , Rating: 3
I agree with you that recycling should be made as easy as possible for the public, but there are often costs associated with recycling that aren't recouped fully through the sale of the recycled materials.

In Toronto, where I live, there's a pretty significant program to divert waste from landfill. We have a blue box program where aluminum, most plastics, and paper is recycled and a green box program where almost everything else that is organic (food waste, used paper towel)is composted. People just put their blue and green boxes on the curb, just like garbage. I believe that they're going to start charging people who produce more than one can of garbage per week to further encourage use of the recycling and composting programs.

It is my understanding that at different times, different parts of the program have made money while other parts have lost money. Of course, that has to be weighed against the cost (economic, environmental, social) of transportation and dumping, which isn't cheap in a big city with high property values. I believe that most people think it's the right thing to do and are willing to bear extra costs through their taxes. I guess here, recycling is just a way of life. I even pay out of my pocket to recycle some things that don't go into the blue box program.

I don't mean to be adversarial or judgmental, but often on these forums I'm struck by some Americans' strong sense of individualism. I often hear many of my brothers to the south saying that they should be able to do what they want and a skepticism or cynicism about pursuing the common good. I think American individualism is a great strength and has obviously led to great cultural and industrial innovation. Yes, I've read my Alexis Tocqueville. But I do wonder if that strong sense of personal freedom comes up against ideas of the common good and problems associated with community. I'm reminded of the dilemma of the commons in which the pursuit of personal good makes sense on the individual level but falls apart when everyone does it (e.g., running for the exits during a fire or sharing a limited resource).


RE: Good idea
By omnicronx on 8/17/2007 11:44:09 AM , Rating: 2
Ya i live in oshawa (for those that dont know, its outside of toronto) and we have the same system, we have a 4 bag limit per household too, anything more and they leave it on the curb. They are starting to charge people here for more than 4 bags, too if you wish to get it picked up anyways. Toronto mainly used to dump most of its garbage in Michigan, but new state laws disallow this, and landfills quickly started to fill up. Eventually the same will happen in most big urban areas and you will be forced to recycle too, whether or not you think its your 'right'

RE: Good idea
By Lord Evermore on 8/19/2007 8:08:27 PM , Rating: 2
Michigan was importing Canadian garbage?

RE: Good idea
By Martimus on 8/20/2007 7:19:37 PM , Rating: 2
What do you mean "was"? We still import it ... grrr

RE: Good idea
By omnicronx on 8/17/2007 11:27:49 AM , Rating: 3
How much of a fee could it possibly be? you are not willing to pay a few bucks to get rid of your old junk, that otherwise would rot in a landfill for 100 years? Where i live they don't even allow you to throw out recyclable products anymore, if they think your garbage has recyclable material in it, they open it up and leave it on your driveway, furthermore they only pick up garbage every second week. Recycling is becoming a must, landfills are filling quickly and soon many states will not be able to support their own garbage. Unless you want to be the next Naples, i would strongly recommend reconsidering your 'no incentive attitude'.
they're not losing money on recycling, are they?
They probably are, recycling is a costly process, and it usually costs more to recycle products than can be made back from the usable recycled products. Sony will be taking a loss on this one, its a PR move, a good one at that, and i am surprised by sony on this one. Since when does sony help out the public at their expense?

RE: Good idea
By Lonearchon on 8/17/2007 12:04:36 PM , Rating: 2
They will only lose money on the plastics in the electronics. All the metal can be recycle for a profit.Also for electronic there is a good change that the connectors are plated with gold so there could be a good profit to be had depending on item received.

RE: Good idea
By omnicronx on 8/17/2007 2:23:37 PM , Rating: 2
The salvageable metals they get out of recycling is not nearly that of the cost to process the rest of the recyclable materials. Recycling still costs more money than they get back in return, but it still has its advantages over throwing things out.

Weirdly enough even after all the administration fees, collection fees etc.. usually puts municipalities in the red, it still costs more to throw things out. An example of this is recycle a ton or so of paper may cost the municipality $25-30, but if they were to send that same ton to the dump they could end up paying upwards of >$100. I have heard some people call this 'Cost avoidance' as money is still being lost, but at a lower pace, and with positive environmental benefits.

One thing i have to also point out is the amount of materials that contain silicon that will have to be recycled. And let me tell you its not an easy process, it requires many time consuming steps to recover the silicone monomers and silicone oligomers from the decomposed silicone compound. This is probably one of the 'some types of materials' that sony mentions that people will have to pay a recycling fee for.

RE: Good idea
By marvdmartian on 8/17/2007 4:27:00 PM , Rating: 2
I think maybe you missed my point. I support recycling, and do more than my part to make certain that my paper, aluminum & plastics are turned in to a recycling center (lucky for me, where I work we recycle everything, and I can simply turn that stuff in there).

What I said was, if you want to get wholesale acceptance of recycling to happen, you have to make it no cost to the consumer (and thus, generator) of the items you want recycled. Like what's said below, add it to the taxes, or to the cost of the items when purchased (who's going to notice an extra 3-cents on a gallon of milk or 2-liter bottle of soda??), and no one will bitch about it. Make people pay up front, and they don't notice.....make them pay to recycle, and they'll fight it.

Plus, you have to consider that the state I live in, Texas, has an abundance of land for landfills, so there's less of a worry about recycling (the city I live in, with 100K population, has NO forced recycling). Consider this..... we could have a landfill that's 2.5 times the size of Rhode Island, and it would still only take up 1% of our land mass!

I'm not saying that no recycling is right, I'm just saying that it's not going to be welcomed here, if people have to pay for it. :)

RE: Good idea
By Homerboy on 8/17/2007 12:10:33 PM , Rating: 2
Well technically you do get charged for your garbage too. Its called taxes. I have no issues with charging people for recycling. You used the product, you should pay to dispose of it in a proper manner.

Now those charges SHOULD be built into your taxes directly, as is your sewer, garbage etc. There shouldn't be any specific and direct "surcharge" for recycling. If they added $100/year onto your taxes for the recycling fee you wouldn't even bat an eye. But because its a direct fee, it seems more painful.

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