Tuesday, January 15, 2008

PC recycling: where to in Australia in 2008?

One of the last things I was able to achieve before leaving Dell at the end of 2007 was to take a small number of journalists to visit the facilities of Dell's recycling supplier, MRI. Some early takes:

Personally, the lasting impression I had from my I visits to MRI is just how much manual work in involved -- you begin to understand why the process of recycling costs more than the value of what is recovered.
Where to in 2008? I'd be both surprised and disappointed if by the end of this year Dell is still the only vendor to offer free recycling options to consumers and small businesses nationally.
There are signs they wont be:
- there's the Victorian Government's Byteback trial, in which 10 major vendors are now participating, lead by the AIIA, including HP (who've been involved since 2006) and Dell.
Unfortunately, at least one major brand does not participate or offer a recycling service of its own (starts with an 'A' and is not headquartered in the US, oh hell, no need to be coy now, it's Acer).
- late last year Toshiba quietly introduced a recycling service for consumers -- not sure why they've not yet done more to tell people about it, after-all a recycling service no-one uses is of little value.
- in 2006 HP produced a glossy document with the NSW Government committing to offer free recycling on HP products sold in the State. Presumably they'll be ready to implement this in 2008.
- IBM launched Project Green mid-year with a research paper that said recycling was the number one green concern among Australian businesses -- presumably they're listening and working on that now.