Feeds

IBM is a mean green recycling machine

But it'll cost punters $30 to ditch their tin

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The greens have a new ally in keeping the planet clean, at least in the US, as IBM has announced that it has signed up to a new initiative to help people recycle unwanted computer hardware.

The initiative is aiming specifically at individuals and small sized businesses, and in exchange for $29.99, IBM will accept obsolete equipment and send it off to be recycled. The fee includes 'shipping costs', so all users have to do is box up the old hardware and send it to Envirocycle, a US recycling firm.

However, in Europe, the EC has proposed that industry should be responsible for the collection and disposal of electronic waste in a directive called 'Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment' or WEEE for short. Under the terms of the directive the manufacturers would also have to find a way to fund it. Passing the costs on to the consumer in such a direct way may only deter people from signing up.

As far as we know there is no equivalent in the US.

But it is clear that something needs to be done. A recent study by the National Safety Council's Environmental Health Centre estimated that in 1998 only 11 per cent of the 20.6 million obsolete PCs were recycled. Moreover, the NSC estimates that 315 million additional computers will become outdated by 2004.

Until now the industry in general has dealt with the problem by shipping old equipment to countries with weaker environmental laws for cheap but more hazardous disposal. So, this new scheme is certainly to be applauded in principle But does it go far enough and will people actually pay IBM to take away their old machines?

Environmental organisation, Friends of the Earth, says that it is imperative that old electrical equipment be recycled. According to a spokeswoman for the organisation there are two main issues. Firstly the question of resource efficiency: continued mining for the component metals is just not sustainable.

Secondly, there are very dangerous substances used in the manufacture of computers and peripherals. While the casings can be kept and recycled fairly easily, there is concern that more and more of the parts, which contain mercury, cadmium and lead, will end up in landfill site or illegal dumps. Incineration merely pumps loads of dioxins into the environment - a by product of the burning plastics.

Wayne Balta, IBM's director of corporate environmental affairs said that the service will allow the equipment to either be recycled "in an environmentally responsible way," or donated to a worthy cause if the equipment still works. ®

Related Link

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.