Most of the hardware products we consume today are engineered with an end-of-life (EOL) in mind, and that has led to more recycling options.
The estimated EOL for mobile phones, for instance, is three years for most manufacturers, although this seems to be rapidly changing with earlier updates released each year. Obviously, this has an impact on the environment. In order to help minimize this, manufacturers offer different recycling options. I previously wrote about Apple’s response, so today I'd like to look at other companies on the green path to recycling.
Nokia offers mail-in and event recycling options. All Nokia phones are built to last, but they're also designed with 100 percent of materials that can be recycled or re-used as energy. For its voluntary recycling network, which is the largest in the world, Nokia has established over 5,000 collection points in almost 100 countries.
Keeping ahead of industry standards, Nokia has voluntarily removed PVC, RFR, and BFR from all its new phones, replacing them with more sustainable materials such as bio-plastics, bio-paints, and recycled metals. Here are Nokia's three steps to recycling your old phone.
As part of its recycling program, Nokia made an illustrative video to promote recycling of mobile phones:
Microsoft's Recycle for Rewards program is simple: The Microsoft retail stores receive your devices, value them according to the market value, and issue a Microsoft retail store credit. If the device is not functioning, or doesn't have any monetary value, Microsoft will recycle it at no cost. The qualifying devices include laptops, tablets, mobile phones, video game consoles, games, and digital-audio players.
Samsung's Recycling Direct offers companies to turn in their Samsung or non-Samsung equipment for free when purchasing new Samsung-branded office equipment. The mail-back program for EOL Samsung products includes televisions up to 50 pounds.
HTC's Recycle Your Old Device program takes back and recycles devices in 30 countries in the EU and the European Economic Area. In the US, HTC also recycles cordless phones, modems, and routers. HTC programs for mobile phones or accessories of any manufacturer are offered in 70 countries and covers more than 90 percent of their global mobile phone unit sales. Depending on the condition of the phones, they can be refurbished for reuse, and then sent to developing countries to be sold at a low price, helping everyone to have access to communications.
Dell, LG, Panasonic, Sharp, and Sony are also helping customers recycling their devices, but unfortunately this is not a 30,000-word book. Please visit their sites for more information.
Recycling seems to be above the electronics supply chain manufacturers wars. Recycling benefits the planet. We all can, and must contribute to making it a better place for us, and for future generations by recycling all our electronics devices. No matter what manufacturer you prefer, pick your favorite one, and send them your e-waste contribution for a cleaner and greener planet.
And if none of the alternatives provided by the manufacturers satisfies you, you might consider recycling by donating your functioning devices to your local school's IT department, to students who can't afford one, a member of the family, a friend, or other people you may know who could benefit from them. That way, the end-of-life will be a little later.