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Best Buy flirts with e-waste recycling

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US electronics retailer Best Buy is experimenting with taking back some of the toxic materials contained in the products it peddles.

It's piloting an e-waste recycling program at 117 stores in the Baltimore, San Francisco, and Minnesota markets. If all goes well, Best Buys says it will consider expanding the offering throughout the US.

Beginning this week, participating stores will take gratis a maximum of two items per household per day. Acceptable electronics are computers, phones, cameras, television and monitors up to 32", and other small-ish devices and peripherals.

Folks wishing to heave decent-sized TVs and monitors, air conditioners, microwaves, console televisions (if you can find one nowadays), and big appliances are out of luck.

Corporate shareholder advocacy group As You Sow claims it's responsible for lighting a fire under Best Buy. According to the group, it filed a shareholder proposal with the vendor last fall, but dropped the proposal when Best Buy agreed to test store recycling in April. Best Buy says it was going to do the test all along.

Each of the areas being tested will use a different e-waste recycling program to dispose of the materials, according to Best Buy spokeswoman Kelly Groehler. The Baltimore area will use E-Structors, the Twin Cities area will use Materials Processing Corporation, and the San Francisco stores will use Electronic Recycling — a name so generic, we couldn't find info on it.

Groehler told us the vendor doesn't have a specific criteria in place to determine if the test is successful or not. Best Buy will just wait and see what happens.

Those not living near a testing area will just have to cross their fingers and hope nobody falls in the e-waste thrasher then. ®

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