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HP sets new e-waste target

It's a weighty proposition: Can the PC maker recycle 1 billion pounds of aged computer gear by 2007?

Hewlett-Packard this week set a goal of recycling 1 billion pounds of electronic products and printing supplies by 2007.

That would be twice the total electronic waste the PC maker has put through the reclaiming process since 1987. In 2003, the company recycled 100 million pounds of electronic products and printing supplies.

According to HP, the target doesn't count the millions of products the company and its partners refurbish, reuse, donate or resell.

Recycling older PCs is a costly proposition for companies. It can cost them between $85 and $136 apiece, even if they manage to sell off some gear, according to a study issued last year by Gartner.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP already has two end-to-end recycling facilities, at Roseville, Calif., and LaVergne, Tenn.

In April this year, coinciding with Earth Day, HP doubled the credit it offers customers who dispose of old electronic gadgets using its online recycling service. These e-coupons can be used to get discounts while purchasing new HP products. Other major PC manufacturers, such as Dell, have similar recycling programs.

HP said the higher target will be met by reaching out to more customers and creating new, more convenient ways for consumers to return and recycle used or unwanted electronic equipment in an environmentally friendly manner. To create awareness, the company is already inserting postage-paid labels and envelopes in HP print cartridges sold in the United States and Europe.