Samsung Recycles 41M Pounds of E-waste In Two Years

Samsung Recycles 41M Pounds of E-waste In Two Years

Hard drives - CC license by Flickr user cambodia4kidsorg

 In two years, Samsung has recycled more than 41.5 million pounds of electronics and was the first electronics manufacturer to meet the e-Stewards standard for responsible e-waste handling.

"We as a producer bear a high degree of responsibility for those products (that are disposed of)," David Steel, executive vice president of strategy and corporate communications for Samsung Electronics North America, said at a Samsung media event in San Francisco yesterday.

Samsung launched its Recycling Direct program in October 2008 with 175 drop-off spots throughout all 50 states, said Mike Moss, Samsung's director of corporate environmental affairs. Now the company has more than 1,100 drop-off locations along with a mail-back program and collection events.

The Recycling Direct program takes electronics from any manufacturer and charges fees just for appliances.

In the few months the program ran in 2008, it collected around 3 million pounds of electronics. Last year it brought in 15 million pounds, and for this year, Samsung has collected 24 million pounds so far. The company projects it will bring in a total of around 45 million pounds of electronics by the end of the year, Moss said.

Samsung started looking more deeply into recycling a decade ago, Moss said, but those early years were mainly spent on understanding e-waste, figuring out Samsung's accountability and understanding all of the issues surrounding e-waste, such as the fact that plenty of e-waste was being sent to developing countries where it was being improperly handled and processed, posing dangers to the environment and human health.

"Samsung wants nothing to do with the export of unprocessed e-waste material," Moss said.

The company was named one of the inaugural e-Stewards Enterprises based on its e-waste handling principles, which it requires its recycling partners to follow. The e-Stewards program certified recyclers that meet guidelines on environmental protection and worker safety. "Recyclers who chose to in small part or large part not agree or not comply with our principles, they are no longer our partners," Moss said.

Hard drives - CC license by Flickr user cambodia4kidsorg