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UPS to recycle gear for tech companies

A new service from the shipping giant will help makers of devices like computers and cell phones dispose of aging products returned by customers.

United Parcel Service has announced a new service for companies that want to recycle used and worn-out electronic devices and components collected from their customers.

UPS Supply Chain Solutions, a division of the shipping giant, will repair or recycle old gadgets through its Asset Recovery and Recycling Management service. For refurbished devices, UPS also will offer resale and remarketing services.

The service is aimed at hardware manufacturers and businesses that have a lot of aging equipment. UPS said its distribution facilities could be used as consolidation points by technology companies to return used and damaged electronic components for collection. It also can handle pick-up and shipment of old and excess inventory directly from companies' distribution centers.

Environmental activists and legislators are prompting companies to devote more resources to establishing programs to recycle existing products. Tech companies, including Dell and Hewlett-Packard, have launched their own recycling programs and are encouraging customers to return their old PCs and printers for recycling, for a fee. This keeps more hardware out of landfills, companies have said.

According to data from the International Association of Electronics Recyclers, cited by UPS, more than 500 million pieces of computer equipment are currently installed in the United States that will become obsolete in less than five years. UPS said it has recycled more than 9.9 million pounds of obsolete electronic components through its recycling program.

Pricing for the new service will depend on several factors, including the type of products being recycled, the volume of gear and the distance the gear is being transported, UPS said.