PC recycling takes a bite out of Apple

While HP, Dell and IBM continue successful Australian recycling initiatives, Apple is still dragging its feet.

The company began its global recycling initiative in 1996, with efforts in the US, Canada, Japan and Europe, yet the campaign has not started in Australia.

Apple spokesperson John Marks said while it does not extend its PC recycling program to Australia, it is in talks with the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) to establish a program.

"Apple doesn't have a recycling program in Australia like we do in the US; however, we are currently talking to the AIIA about creating a potential program," Marks said.

Meanwhile, HP said its NSW pilot recycling program with Domayne last weekend (July 8 and 9) collected 40 tones of IT equipment, part of a global 34 million kilograms since its programs began in 1987. The company is set to recycle globally nearly half a billion kilograms of IT equipment by the end of 2007 from its 40 countries, regions and territories of operation.

Dell, with partner Dell Financial Services, has provided PC recycling in 30 countries, and has operated in Australia since 2003. US Dell customers can use DellExchange, an online initiative where used equipment can be donated to charity, traded-in or auctioned.

Similarly, IBM has a Global Asset Recovery Service where its companies and consumers can recycle IT equipment to be donated to charity or resold as used technology.

As reported by Computerworld last month, Dell Australia and New Zealand managing director Joe Kremer said governments and retailers need to cooperate in establishing a national recycling campaign.

"Industry, retailers, government and consumers all have a role to play in reducing e-waste and we have actively supported the move towards a national recycling scheme led by the Australian Information Industry Association," Kremer said.

Griffith University electronic waste expert Sunil Heart said there are more than nine million computers in use around Australia, and this year a further 2.1 million computers will enter the market, while more than three million are expected to become obsolete.

"With that amount of computers becoming redundant, it is important that electronic equipment is recycled or reused wherever possible," Heart said.

Byteback, a long-term recycling initiative between Sustainability Victoria, the City of Boroondara, HP and two environmental companies, allows Victorian residents and businesses to recycle IT equipment free of charge.