Staples Launches In-Store Recycling Programs

Staples Launches In-Store Recycling Programs

Staples, Inc. has announced two chainwide recycling programs that allow store visitors to recycle their cell phones, PDAs, pagers, and rechargeable batteries.

Staples is working with CollectiveGood, a mobile electronics recycling company, and the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rechargeable battery recycling, to address the great need to reduce the amount of electronic products normally discarded into the waste stream. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from recycled mobile electronics will be donated to the Sierra Club to help support environmental education and conservation programs.

"As mobile electronics and rechargeable batteries help businesses and consumers be productive every day, Staples is helping to make it easy for these products to be recycled responsibly when they're no longer being used," said Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs at Staples. "Our new recycling programs, the latest initiatives in our overall environmental commitment, help reduce the amount of electronics and their hazardous elements from going into the nation's landfills.”

In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 250-300 million used cell phones and many millions of other used mobile devices that should be recycled rather than disposed of in landfills. In addition, a 2002 national survey by the RBRC found that respondents use an average of five mobile devices in their daily lives, leading to millions of used rechargeable batteries in need of recycling each year.

Mobile Electronics Recycling

Recycling mobile electronics prevents hazardous elements like mercury, cadmium and lead from contaminating the earth through incineration and landfill disposal. Staples customers simply drop off their used cell phone, PDA and/or pager as well as chargers in the clear-plastic collection tubes conveniently located near the cell phone display area in every Staples store. The collected devices will be refurbished by CollectiveGood for reuse, usually in the developing world, or recycled according to federal and local environmental standards.

"CollectiveGood is proud to work with Staples in this mobile device recycling initiative," said Seth Heine, President of CollectiveGood. "This is the most comprehensive initiative of its kind and is also the most consumer friendly. Staples is demonstrating remarkable commitment and leadership as a retailer and steward of the environment."

"Given that Staples serves so many customers every day, the program will help connect with a wide variety of consumers beyond those already involved in environmental causes," said Johanna O'Kelley, director of the Sierra Club's licensing program.

Rechargeable Battery Recycling

Many people don't realize that rechargeable batteries that power growing numbers of mobile electronic products can and should be recycled when they no longer hold a charge. Working with RBRC, Staples will recycle used rechargeable batteries commonly found in mobile devices including cell phones, digital cameras, laptop computers, PDAs as well as portable DVD and CD players. Staples customers simply drop off their used rechargeable batteries at the store customer service desk.

"Our program with Staples marks the first time we've joined forces with a national office supply retailer," said Ralph Millard, executive vice president, RBRC. "By giving customers the resources to recycle used rechargeable batteries that are found in many Staples products, Staples is again showing its leadership in serving customers and being environmentally responsible."

Rechargeable batteries eligible for collection and recycling are those that contain nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd), nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH), lithium Ion (Li-im), and small sealed lead (Pb) (weighing less than 2 lbs/1 kg). The program does not accept alkaline or lithium batteries.