HP launches IT recycling program

Hewlett-Packard Canada Inc. launched a Canada-wide recycling service today that will allow corporate and individual users to recycle their unwanted computers and equipment without adding to landfill sites or exporting scrap electronics to developing countries.

Called the “take-back service”, HP says it will recycle any brand of personal or office computer equipment and peripherals, regardless whether it is Hewlett-Packard equipment or not.

Having run the take-back service for a couple years in the United States, Hewlett-Packard expanded the program into Canada after receiving numerous requests from Canadian customers.

Depending on the quantity and product, the cost of the service ranges from $20 to $52. The service includes pickup, transportation, evaluation for reuse or donation and environmentally sound recycling for products. All items destined for recycling will be shipped to a Noranda Inc. recycling plant in Nashville, Tenn. Reusable items will remain in Canada.

“What can be salvaged will be donated to Computers for Schools,” said Frances Edmonds, manager of environmental health for Hewlett-Packard Canada. Computers for Schools (CFS), is a federally funded program by Industry Canada that collects, refurbishes and repairs donated computers from private and governmental organizations and distributes them to schools and libraries in Canada

Recyclable items include ink printers and laser printers, PCs, monitors, scanners and digital projectors and all-in-ones such as printer/scanner/fax combos. Handheld devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), calculators and cameras are also accepted along with network equipment such as switches, routers and hubs.

Other types of consumer electronic equipment, however, such as VCRs and televisions are not eligible.

A Canadian environmental consulting firm, Enviro RIS, projects that 67,324 tonnes of IT equipment will be disposed of in 2005.

Hewlett-Packard’s Noranda recycling plant in Nashville Tenn. can process about 680,389 tonnes of IT waste per month.

“We guarantee 100 per cent diversion from landfill and third-world countries,” said Frances Edmonds, manager of environmental health and safety for Hewlett-Packard Canada Inc.

The point is that none of it will end up in the trash, allowing toxic waste such as lead, mercury, beryllium, cadmium and hexavalent chromium to leak into the environment.

Michael Vander Pol, program co-ordinator for Environment Canada’s office of pollution prevention is working with the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) to develop a voluntary “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) program.

The program is aimed at helping corporations take more responsibility in disposing toxic products they include in their products instead of relying upon the taxpayers to foot the bill for clean-up and disposal when the product’s life ends.

Hewlett-Packard’s recycling service is an example of EPR, and is a similar program run by IBM Canada Corp.

IBM’s recycling program has been running since Feburary 2001 – it charges a flat rate of $49.99 for up to 100 pounds of hardware.

To order Hewlett-Packard’s take-back service, visit their Web site at www.hp.ca/recycle. The Web site provides the approximate cost, and payment information.