Dell, the No.1 personal computer seller in the United States, said on Tuesday it is expanding a free computer recycling program to six more U.S. states, further increasing the company's lead in recycling used electronic equipment.
With the addition of Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont, the Reconnect program is now available in 18 U.S. states with more than 1,100 staffed collection points, Mike Watson, senior manager of Dell Global Recycling Services, said.
Reconnect currently is the only program that offers so many collection points in the United States, Watson told Xinhua in a telephone interview.
Partnering with Goodwill Industries, North America's leading nonprofit organization, Dell launched the Reconnect program in 2004 to offer consumers an easy and convenient way to recycle their used computer equipment.
Under the program, consumers can drop off any brand of used electronic equipment at one of the collection sites. The equipments then moved to a central location for assessing and processing.
Some of the equipment may be refurbished and reused, while others disposed of, Watson said.
"The value of the program is to first and foremost divert the electronics from going to landfills," he said.
When discarded in landfills, toxic chemicals in the electronic products can leach into the earth over time or are released into the atmosphere, harming people living in the vicinity and the environment.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recycling electronic products helps reduce pollution which would be generated during the process of manufacturing a new product. The recycling also helps to extract valuable and limited virgin resources, avoiding unnecessary waste.
Since its launch five years ago, the Reconnect program has recycled more than 50 million pounds (about 23 million kilograms) of computer equipment.
In addition to expanding Reconnect, Watson said Dell is also launching Exchange, a new free online trade-in program that enables U.S. customers to keep unwanted electronic equipment out of landfills by exchanging them for Dell gift cards.
He said the company will achieve its goal of recycling 275 million pounds (about 125 million kilograms) of computer equipment this year, ahead of schedule.
Dell was the first IT vendor to set product recovery goals in 2004, completed the roll-out of its global recycling program in 2006 and remains the only computer manufacturer to offer a free worldwide recycling program for products of its own brand.
Dell's practice provides "a clear understanding there are very creative ways of making recycling easier," Watson said.
"Every technology provider has a responsibility to provide free, easy and responsible recycling to consumers worldwide," he said. "We hope 2009 is the year that brings the industry together around this shared principle."