More Manufacturers Recycle Their Electronics

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.

27 comments on “More Manufacturers Recycle Their Electronics

  1. Anand
    June 11, 2013

    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.

    @Susan, thanks for the post. I never knew Nokia products were built with 100 percent of materials that can be recycled or re-used as energy. I really hope all the other companies adopts such policies so that the electronic waste can be easily recycled.

  2. Anand
    June 11, 2013

    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,

    @Susan, This is a very good idea. I think many companies do follow such strategies. When they want to upgrate their machines they donate all the old machines to schools as part of their charity programme.

  3. itguyphil
    June 11, 2013

    What do the schools do with them when they upgrade their equipment?

  4. Tom Murphy
    June 11, 2013

    PoCharlie:  I know schools in latin America that are still running Win98 PCs.  Really, for word processing and some basic lessons that is all they need.  They don't surf the web but having computers creates an environment for interactive learning and gets kids to understand that computers aren't just for rocket scientists anymore. 

    And when schools can use them no more, computers need to be recycled.

  5. Susan Fourtané
    June 12, 2013


    I don't use to say that the sky is blue when everyone knows it.

    It's pretty obvious to me that anyone with some common sense is going to wipe the data from any device before sending it for recycling. Do I have to state the obvious? I don't think so. Specially when I don't like it when people state the obvious.

    Once I read “Apple and Microsoft are big companies” as the first sentence in a blog on a technology site. I thought it was insulting my intelligence.

    Telling people who work in technology that they have to wipe the data from their phones before sending them for recycling is stating the obvious. 

    Also, in the links I have included in the recycling articles there is plenty of information from the manufacturers about how to wipe sensitive data. Nokia even has a free downloadable kit for it. You just need to read. I have included all the information in one way or another. That's why I include the links to everything, right?  


  6. Susan Fourtané
    June 12, 2013


    So what's your point then? 

    This blog is about what manufacturers offer in their recycling programs. It's not a guide about what to do with sensitive data stored in your phone. If someone doesn't know how to do with their data, let's then start from there. Discuss about what this blog is about, not about what it is not. What's your point?


  7. Susan Fourtané
    June 12, 2013


    When schools are done with the equipment, and if the computers have reached their end of life cycle, they should be sent for recycling. 


  8. Susan Fourtané
    June 12, 2013


    I read you are just complaining about something that was not part of this blog. Read what I wrote, find more information in the all the links provided, everything is there. 


  9. Susan Fourtané
    June 12, 2013

    Right, you were accusing me that I didn't discuss in the blog something that was not part of it. Let's just finish this discussion. It goes nowhere. I don't take accusations from anyone. 


  10. Susan Fourtané
    June 12, 2013


    Yes, there are many companies donating computers to schools and charity benefiting others, and extending the life of the equipment. 


  11. HarrisBo
    June 12, 2013

    You should look for a companny that offers disk wiping to NIST 800-88 standards with serialized reporting, shredding with video capture and strictly following of best legal and environmental practices. R2 and E-Steward registered companies are held to high recycling standards. Companies that talk about trust and rapport usially have policies built in for long term relationships

  12. Wale Bakare
    June 12, 2013

    >>What do the schools do with them when they upgrade their equipment?<<

    Some institutions do have specialists handling old stuffs, they only get useful parts recycled. Which parts of your old devices purchased 10 years ago worth recycling? Factor in the constant change in technologies today.

  13. Wale Bakare
    June 12, 2013

    >>extending the life of the equipment<< @Susan, how do you mean by extending?

  14. Susan Fourtané
    June 12, 2013


    To make the life of the equipment a little longer, if it's still possible. So maybe the computers don't serve the school any more, but maybe they can be useful to someone who needs very basic things, and not necessarily the latest updates of the OS. 


  15. Susan Fourtané
    June 12, 2013


    “Which parts of your old devices purchased 10 years ago worth recycling?”

    That's an interesting question. Maybe not much. The metals can be recycled, thought. Another way of recycling old computers is donating them to some conceptual artists who make wonderful artworks with parts of computers. Maybe art schools can do something good with them, good art projects. 

    I have seen very interesting art exhibitions that included old recycled computers. Sometimes there is only a need for a little imagination, and a statement to make. That's what conceptual art is all about. 🙂  


  16. Susan Fourtané
    June 12, 2013


    “I never knew Nokia products were built with 100 percent of materials that can be recycled or re-used as energy.”

    Yes, isn't it wonderful? I believe the role manufacturers play in the supply chain is important. They can help by asking their suppliers to sell them components that can be easily recycled, or re-used. They can create a recycling chain, you see? 🙂 


  17. Tom Murphy
    June 12, 2013

    Susan et al: I think it may be even easier to recycle a 10-yr-old computer than a more recent model, if you're really talking about tearing it down for its ingredients.  The main difference is that there were a lot more minerals in the older machines. As those rose in price, manufacturers found cheaper alternatives or found ways to use smaller amounts.  So old machines may be worth more in raw materials than a more modern machine. 

    Of course, if you're talking about trade-in value, fuhgetaboutit!  Anything over two years old is bound for the recycling station. I do know a computer re-sell company that refurbishes older computers and sells them cheap. Last year, they were stocked with hundreds of old XP laptops. This year, you can buy an older Win7 machine fairly cheap. They have Macs, too, that once belonged to advanced users and are still suitable for orinary folks.

  18. Lavender
    June 12, 2013

    For some special industries, such as medical, military, areospace, recycle of old materials is necessary, which offers standard to obsolete components. 

  19. Lavender
    June 12, 2013

    Hi, Susan, I really wonder what manufacturers will do with the recycled and re-used components. If they use them in new products, these outdated parts may affect the entire product, causing more recycling, waste?

  20. BambooKate
    June 12, 2013

    Hello- I am a research strategist and editor of Bamboo Mobile, an information hub  dedicated to device reuse and recycling and other green mobility issues. I thought maybe you would be interested in the blogs and research I've done in this area. You can visit to find out more. Thanks.

  21. itguyphil
    June 13, 2013

    I once was looking for a place to recycle old computers years ago & my school would not take them b/c they said they had no use for them. Surprising they didn't mention recycling programs.

  22. itguyphil
    June 13, 2013

    Win98? Oh the painful memories in hindsight.

    If they're using it within the means of what the computer offers, then by all means keep using it.

  23. Wale Bakare
    June 13, 2013

    If you can recylce or reproduce IC systems based FPGAs, that of ASICs may not possbile. So also, you got computer running ultra speed D/SRAM today in few months time you have 3x faster. Recycling for metal and themo-plastics parts are a worthy investments.  

  24. Wale Bakare
    June 13, 2013

    Cost benefit analysis i think. They might take them to musems for exhibitions. Do you think?

  25. itguyphil
    June 14, 2013

    It's possible.

  26. Mr. Roques
    June 17, 2013

    What are they doing with your phones? Are they using parts of it in new phones? After they have hundreds or thousands of phones, what's the plan?

  27. itguyphil
    June 18, 2013

    The components can be reused for other things. Not sure what but I'm sure the chips can be reprogrammed and repurposed.

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