Pilot Electronics Take-Back with Staples, Inc.
Staples, one of the largest national sellers of office products, partnered with the Product Stewardship Institute and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to launch a program to measure the success of retail-based electronics recycling. As part of the pilot project, PSI collected valuable data on electronics entering the recycling system from business and retail customers, and identified cost-effective ways for retailers to participate in a national electronics recycling system. The ultimate project goal was to develop and test a sustainable business model for long-term electronics collection and recycling and to provide a model for other retailers to adopt a similar program. The Final Report and Executive Summary include project benefits, key lessons learned, and recommendations. During the pilot collections, which ran for six weeks (from May 29 through July 11, 2004), Staples collected and recycled used computers, computer “peripherals” (such as keyboards, mice, and speakers), printers, scanners, fax machines, and desktop copiers from its customers at 27 retail stores and 14 businesses in five northeastern states. Through reverse distribution, Staples transported the materials from multiple collection points to its distribution centers and on to the recycler. The pilot was part of EPA’s Plug-In to eCycling Project.