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Sony US launches 'free' recycling programme

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Sony will next month allow US consumers to drop off unwanted Sony-branded electronics products for recycling. The service is free of charge, but many eco-conscious Americans will still have to drive big distances to drop-off sites.

The Sony Take Back Recycling Program will kick off on 15 September, and will operate at 75 of Waste Management's Recycle America eCycling centres across the continental US. Sony said it hopes to increase the number of participating sites to 150 within a year - enough, it claimed, for 95 per cent of the US population to be living within 20 miles of a drop-off point. There will be at least one centre per state.

Sony did say that it will provide consumers will the option of shipping unwanted Sony kit to "select" Waste Management sites, but it didn't indicate when this service will be offered or how much it might costs users.

The consumer electronics giant cited the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimate that 1.5-1.9m tons of unwanted electronics equipment was left in landfill sites in 2005, compared to 345,000-379,000 tons of kit that was recycled.

Sony said consumers will also be able to drop off unwanted electronics products from other manufacturers, but they'll have to pay for the privilege - a factor hardly likely to encourage punters to participate, particularly if they also have to accept the cost - in fuel and greenhouse gas emissions - of travelling to the recycling centre.

A list of Waste Management eCycling drop-off sites can be found here (PDF file).

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