Dell to Offer Curbside PC Recycling for a Fee

CIOL Bureau
New Update

NEW YORK: When you put your cans, bottles and newspapers out for recycling, make sure you put your Dell PCs in a separate pile.

For a $15 fee, Dell Computer Corp. will arrange for your discarded personal computers and monitors to be hauled away in the latest expansion of its recycling program.


The Round Rock, Texas-based company and other computer makers have been criticized for not doing more to slow what environmentalists say is a rapidly growing pile of hazardous computer materials in waste dumps.

Dell launched a recycling program for consumers in October of last year, effectively turning a potential public relations liability into a marketing opportunity. But it required consumers to drop computers off at recycling locations or at a shipping point and cost customers $20 to $50, a Dell executive said.

In the new program, the new $15 fee covers shipping by Airborne Inc. of up to 50 pounds of computer products. These include notebook computers, desktop computers and monitors. The program commences on March 25, Dell Senior Vice President of U.S. consumer business John Hamlin said in an interview.

Customers can either donate the discarded computers to other users or send them for recycling.

But one recycling proponent said it's not enough to ease his concerns. "It certainly will elicit a little bit more participation among consumers but in general the idea of paying $15 or more to dispose of a dead machine is just something most consumers are not interested in availing themselves of," said David Wood, a program director at GrassRoots Recycling, a U.S. network of recyclers working to boost computer recycling.


Wood also says Dell should end its recycling contract with UNICOR, a program of the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Prison Industries that uses a federal inmate work force. Dell's Hamlin defended the relationship, saying it meets all safety and other requirements.

Dell is close to signing a contract with a second, commercial computer recycling company, said Pat Nathan, the executive environmental spokesperson at Dell.

The world's largest personal computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. also has a recycling program run through its Web site and which costs from $13 to $34 per item, depending upon the type and quantity of hardware to be returned.

Recyclers get a $50 coupon redeemable for HP equipment in a program that is due to end April 30. But a company spokeswoman said the program may become part of its long-term strategy. Dell recyclers get a 10 percent discount on software and computer-related products like printers and digital cameras.

Dell said that since it began recycling computers for corporate customers in 1991, it has collected 2 million computers.