Best Buy, Astaro Hop on E-Waste Bandwagon

I was two months too early. In April, I decided to get rid of a broken TV and a really old TV that no one would want, even for free. (I bought it back when cable-ready TVs weren't even a gleam in the inventor's eyes.) Like computers and their peripherals, TVs contain a lot of hazardous materials that shouldn't be in landfills, so I wanted to dispose of them properly. So, after a lot of research, a 40-mile roadtrip, and a check for $24, I was able to have my TVs recycled in an environmentally sound way.


However, had I know that Best Buy was going to start testing an electronics recycling program this week, I would have waited. On June 1, more than 100 Best Buy stores started letting customers bring in up to two electronic items per day for recycling at no charge. The devices can include televisions and monitors up to 32 inches; computers and their peripherals; phones; and cameras. The 117 participating stores are located in California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington DC, and Wisconsin. For a list of the stores, go to the "Best Buy locations participating in free electronics recycling program test" Web page. Best Buy will later evaluate the success of the test and determine options for expanding the recycling program.


Fortunately, Best Buy isn't the only company to recently hop on the electronic waste (e-waste) bandwagon. Astaro, a vendor of security appliances, is also hopping on—sort of. Astaro announced this week that it will be working with Go Green Global Recycling to recycle all Cisco PIX appliances received through the Upgrade Your PIX Trade-in Program. In this program, Astaro is giving PIX users a 20 percent discount on Astaro Security Gateway appliances in exchange for their PIX firewall appliances. Admittedly, this is more of an attempt to get people to buy Astaro Security Gateway appliances instead of Cisco's ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliances (the replacement for PIX, which will soon reach its end-of-sales date—see the "End of Sale Q&A for Cisco PIX Products"), but at least the old PIX products will be properly recycled by Go Green Global Recycling. "Astaro wants to do its part to reduce the physical waste and environmental toxins produced through the disposal of electronics that have been end-of-lifed," according to Astaro CEO Jan Hichert. For more information about Astaro's program, go to the "Upgrade Your Pix Trade-in Program" Web page.


No matter whether you want to get rid of your old computer and other electronics at home or at work, be aware that cities and states are beginning to pass laws prohibiting e-waste in landfills. Thirteen states (California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia) and one city (New York City) have already passed laws that mandate the recycling of discarded electronics. The Electronics TakeBack Coalition's "State Legislation on E-Waste" Web page gives a comprehensive rundown on the e-waste legislation passed and under consideration in various states.


So, if you want to recycle your computers, peripherals, and other electronic products because you're required to by law or by your conscience, you'll want to keep abreast of recycling programs offered by manufacturers like Astaro and retailers such as Best Buy. The "National Resources Defense Council's (NRDC's) What To Do About E-Waste" Web site includes a lot of helpful information about and links to manufacturer take-back programs and retailer recycling programs. There are also lots of other e-waste recycling Web sites you can look at. Some of the more notable sites include myGreenElectronics and Earth 911.


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