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Dell announces free recycling for used gear

Consumers will be able to recycle old Dell-branded products for free, even if they turn to the competition for an upgrade.

Dell announced plans Wednesday to let consumers recycle their Dell-branded products for free, even if they replace those products with Hewlett-Packard's new printer or Toshiba's new laptop.

Previously, Dell offered free recycling of old gear, Dell-branded or not, with the purchase of a new Dell PC, printer or other product. That will continue, but the company will also now let consumers arrange for the free pickup of any Dell-branded product that's no longer being used, without having to purchase a new Dell product.

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Door-to-door recycling
New program will pick up old Dell-branded technology products for free.

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Green light for consumer recycling
PC vendors need to help out people who want to recycle their electronics products, says Katie Krebs of the National Recycling Coalition.

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"We don't believe that consumers should have to pay for the responsible retirement of used computer products," Dell Chairman Michael Dell said on a conference call. Dell was joined by Katie Krebs, executive director of the National Recycling Coalition, a nonprofit organization looking to improve and expand recycling efforts.

"Consumers want to recycle responsibly, but they need convenient solutions to do so," Krebs said. Dell customers will be able to print out a mailing label after entering their asset tag number on a Dell Web site, and will be responsible for packing the product and arranging for an in-home pickup time, said Todd Arbogast, manager of Dell's sustainable business group.

Electronics recycling programs have improved as local governments and individuals have become more aware of the toxic effects of decaying circuit boards, but groups such as the National Recycling Coalition have been urging vendors to pick up more of the load. Apple Computer recently announced a plan to start taking back old computers for free with the purchase of a new Mac.

Hewlett-Packard announced an expansion of its own recycling programs later Wednesday. The company plans to hold recycling events this summer in Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico and Oregon. During the events, consumers can drop off almost any type of technology product from any company for proper disposal.