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Environmental Protection & Preservation

Fewer Than One in Four Americans Recycle Their Technology Waste

Do you recycle your old electronic items? If so, you're one of a small number who do. Only 23 percent of Americans recycle their old or unused electronic items, and 41 percent either throw such items in the trash or don't dispose of them at all, according to a national survey by Staples.

"The recycling of electronic products at their end of life fuels economic activity, creates jobs and diverts hazardous materials from landfills," said Kate Krebs, executive director of the National Recycling Coalition that coordinates America Recycles Day on November 15th. "Every day in the U.S., an estimated 133,000 computers are discarded and not recycled or reused, which causes mounting trash and toxicity in landfills. We are excited that Staples is spreading the word about technology recycling and motivating consumers and businesses to take responsible, environmentally-friendly action."

Staples makes it easy to recycle a range of used technology items every day in its 1,400 stores nationwide. In May 2007, Staples became the first national retailer to launch an in-store, everyday computer and office technology recycling program. Staples accepts all brands of items, regardless of whether they were purchased at Staples, and recycles them for a $10 fee. This week, customers who purchase any Dell desktop, notebook, printer or monitor at Staples U.S. stores through November 17 will be able to recycle their old office technology for free (limit of one item recycled free per Dell item purchased). In addition, Staples makes it easy to recycle used ink and toner cartridges as well as personal technology items such as cell phones and PDAs in all its stores.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American consumers generate nearly two million tons of used electronics each year, which contain hazardous materials such as mercury, cadmium, lead and brominated flame retardants.

"Between 2000 and 2007, an estimated 500 million computers became obsolete in the U.S.," said Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs at Staples. "Providing options for technology recycling is an important way that Staples makes it easy to make a difference for the environment-what we call EcoEasy. We know that many businesses and consumers want eco-friendly options, so we're helping them move from thinking about it to taking some action."

Through Staples' computer and office technology recycling program, customers can recycle items by simply bringing their used computers, monitors, laptops, printers, faxes and all-in-ones to any U.S. Staples store. There's no limit on the quantity of equipment that can be recycled. The $10 recycling fee per piece of large equipment is charged to cover handling, transport and product disassembly. Smaller computer peripherals, such as keyboards and mice, will be recycled for free. Staples Easy Techsm service is on site in all stores to transfer data from an old computer to a new one for a fee.

In addition, Staples provides free in-store recycling for cell phones, PDAs, pagers, digital cameras, chargers and rechargeable batteries. Staples has teamed up with Collective Good, which refurbishes products where feasible or recycles them and donates a portion of the proceeds to charity.

Staples also offers its industry-leading ink and toner recycling program, which allows customers to recycle Dell, Hewlett-Packard or Lexmark ink cartridges at Staples stores in exchange for a $3 coupon to be used at Staples. In 2006, Staples recycled more than 17 million ink cartridges in the U.S.

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