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March 2, 2016

Best Buy changes in-store recycling program

According to a post on the Best Buy website by Laura Bishop, the company’s vice president of public affairs and sustainability, the retailer has made changes to its in-store recycling program.

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“We are now charging customers $25 for each TV and computer monitor they recycle at our stores,” Bishop writes. “And in two states—Illinois and Pennsylvania—we are no longer recycling these particular products because of laws that prevent us from collecting fees to help run our program. All other products—such as batteries, ink cartridges, computers, printers and hundreds of other items—continue to be recycled for free at all of our stores.”

She goes on to state that Best Buy voluntarily has operated a comprehensive electronics recycling service in the United States since 2009.

More details about Best Buy’s reycling program are at www.bestbuy.com/recycle.

EPA study finds electronics recycling standards are well-implemented

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a study assessing implementation of e-Stewards and Responsible Recycling Standard for Electronics Recyclers (R2), the two third-party certification programs for electronic scrap recyclers in the U.S. The study finds that the standards are being implemented by auditors with thorough knowledge of the standards.

“EPA’s study affirms that e-Stewards and R2 certification programs are helping to improve the responsible management of used electronics in the United States,” says Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management.

The R2 and the e-Stewards standards are accredited third-party standards for the management of used electronics designed to protect human health and the environment. The limited study assessed whether these standards are being implemented transparently and consistently and are achieving the intended results.

“Both standards include strong environmental requirements that maximize reuse and recycling, minimize exposure of toxics to human health or the environment, ensure safe management of materials by downstream handlers and require destruction of all data on used electronics,” the EPA writes in a news release announcing the study’s results.

The study’s findings are based on stakeholder interviews that EPA conducted and audits that EPA observed, which reflect a small percentage of all certified electronics recycling facilities and auditors working in the electronics recycling industry.

“Though limited in number, the audits EPA observed reflected the range of audit types, facility sizes and services offered by facilities seeking to obtain or maintain certification to the standards,” the agency says.

The study identifies a number of strengths in implementation of the standards, such as clear and effective roles and responsibilities among the key implementers and opportunities for constructive feedback integrated throughout the system, EPA says. It also offers recommendations for improving the overall effectiveness of implementation, including providing additional training and guidance materials in key topic areas, providing regular updates to the standards and increasing audit times to allow for more thorough audits.

The study was conducted with the U.S. General Services Administration and the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board.