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Innovation

HP on track to recycle 2 billion pounds of tech stuff. What percentage of the total is that?

Taken individually, Hewlett-Packard has reported some pretty impressive milestones in green corporate citizenship over the past year.You might classify its efforts as a dark emerald shade of commitment, as opposed to a less vivid color like lime.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Taken individually, Hewlett-Packard has reported some pretty impressive milestones in green corporate citizenship over the past year.

You might classify its efforts as a dark emerald shade of commitment, as opposed to a less vivid color like lime. Among HP's achievements, I have been particularly impressed by its release of the HP Deskjet D2545 Printer, which is made almost entirely of recycled plastic. It's just one product, of course, but it's a start. The more that high-tech leaders focus on designing sustainable products, the better off we'll all be a few years down the road.

Another number that is pretty darn impressive: HP is well on its way to a goal of collecting 2 billion pounds (or 775,510 metric tonnes) of electronic products and supplies by the end of 2010. (That is just what it has collected since 1987.) Because they know its hard to wrap your mind around such a number, HP offers that this is about the same weight as the Golden Gate Bridge. Approximately 300 million pounds of that stuff has been reused in some way.

I have to admit that I am simultaneously charged up and depressed by that number. After all, HP is the largest tech company in the world. I find myself wondering how many pounds of technology it has actually distributed to consumers and companies over that same time period. What percentage of all the technology that is sold does that collected amount represent? Anyone willing to say. And, if it's a teeny number, what's the plan for making it bigger.

I honestly don't mean to belittle what HP has done, but tech companies in particular need to keep raising the bar. I'm ready to be shocked by some innovation.

You can read a complete recap of HP's green activities in its 2008 Fiscal Global Citizenship Report at this link.

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