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Apple Responds to Pressure from Consumers, Shareholders on Recycling

Apple Computer has announced that it will offer free takeback and recycling of old computers to consumers who buy new Macs at Apple stores or through their online store.

Apple's announcement comes just before Apple's annual meeting, where shareholders will be voting on a resolution that would require Apple to study ways to improve their recycling program. The resolution was filed last year by As You Sow, a socially responsible investment firm that acts on behalf of shareholders.

"We are thrilled with Apple's announcement," said Ted Smith, chair of the Computer TakeBack Campaign. "We hope that Apple will apply its capable PR resources to make this program visible to customers on an on-going basis. We also would like them stop lobbying against bills in states that would establish electronics takeback and recycling programs. They lobbied against the bill that was passed in Washington State last month."

The Computer TakeBack Campaign has been pressuring Apple Computer to improve its takeback program since January 2005, with protests at Apple's headquarters and the San Francisco MacWorld convention. In response to the Campaign's pressure around the short product lifespan of its iPod products, Apple announced free iPod recycling at its U.S. stores last June.

"We applaud Apple Computer for launching this free takeback program," said Robin Schneider, vice-chair of the Computer TakeBack Campaign. "We have been calling on Apple to offer free recycling for over a year, and are pleased to see them join Dell and HP in providing free computer recycling for their customers."

Unlike Dell and HP, Apple Computer has not announced any public collection goals for its recycling program. HP has announced a goal of collecting one billion pounds of products and supplies for recycling by 2007. Dell's goal is 280 million pounds by 2009.

"Goals are important because they show that the company is making a public commitment to promoting their recycling efforts to achieve significant results," said Ted Smith.

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