HP, Staples offer free electronic waste recycling

New program covers a wide range of consumer electronics and business technology, regardless of the brand and regardless of where it was purchased.

Most of the big high-tech hardware companies have some sort of program intended to help consumers and businesses dispose of outdated or cast-off computers and electronics devices responsibly.

Hewlett-Packard and Staples stepped up their collective efforts this week to encourage recycling with a new program that will accept a broad range of gadgets, regardless of where they were originally bought and regardless of the brand-name logo on the outside.

The program covers:

  • All desktop computers, laptops, netbooks or tablet computers
  • External hard drives
  • Server hardware
  • Any kind of computer monitor
  • Printers and multifunction devices (and older machines including faxes and desktop copiers)
  • Uninterruptible power supplies
  • Shredders
  • Peripherals such as mice, keyboards, modems and speakers
  • Mobile phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, digital camcorders and global positioning satellite (GPS) devices

You can drop off your cast-offs at a Staples location. If you don't live near one, you can use FedEx to ship the gadgets to the nearest one. You can ship HP products for free, provided you apply for a voucher.

The intent of the program is to encourage more people to be aware of the need to recycle and to ensure that technology is handled by recycling processors that are certified either to the e-Stewards or R2 specifications. Those specifications include rules for how materials are handled so that they pose less of a risk to humans; they also focus on preventing technology from being exported to countries that have much less stringent electronics recycling standards.

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