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Dell amps up its tech recycling programs, consumer give-back options

Dell and Goodwill Industries are extending their five-year Reconnect technology recycling partnership to cover an additional six states: Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont. The extension brings the total number of states covered by the program up to 18, and the number of participating Goodwill stores has now topped 1,000.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Dell and Goodwill Industries are extending their five-year Reconnect technology recycling partnership to cover an additional six states: Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont. The extension brings the total number of states covered by the program up to 18, and the number of participating Goodwill stores has now topped 1,000.

Mike Watson, senior manager of Dell Global Recycling Services, says the expansion is partially in response to research by his company showing that close to 80 percent of would-be recyclers believed there was some value left in the technology they were donating and wanted to ensure that donated items found a new lease on life.

Under the Reconnect Partnership, owners can bring in any brand of unwanted electronics for free. One cautionary note: They'll need to make sure that all data has been wiped clean beforehand.

To date, the partnership has collected an estimated 50 million pounds of technology equipment, according to Susanne Fredericks, business innovation and development for Goodwill. Ultimately, the two organizations hope to take the initiative national. For perspective, Dell has collected more than 275 million pounds of equipment worldwide. It has been focused formally on recycling since roughly 2006.

If you can't take advantage of the Goodwill program, Dell also has officially launched what it is calling Dell Exchange, an online technology trade-in system under which you can send in equipment in exchange for Dell gift cards. Exchange has been in pilot since November 2008 and while there currently is no limit as to how many gift cards Dell will give out, you can only donate one item at a time so this doesn't really work for businesses. Enterprise recycling options are noted here. (Only they are positioned as asset recovery services.)

Other Dell recycling programs:

- You can bring Dell-branded items to Staples retail locations for free.

- A relationship with the Cristina Foundation means that your donations to that organization will send Dell equipment to a non-profit organization.

If you have questions about what you should and shouldn't do, here is the Environmental Protection Agency's policy statement regarding responsible recycling.

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