Electronics recycling is notoriously difficult–so difficult, in fact, that Greenpeace has an entire campaign devoted to improving it. But Sony took a giant leap forward yesterday in making recycling easier with its GreenFill in-store recycling service. It’s as easy as can be: just bring any portable electronic device (brand is unimportant) to one of 81 participating Sony stores, and the company will recycle it for free. Previously, Sony charged a fee to recycle non-Sony products.
The participation rate of 81 stores is nothing compared to, say, Nokia’s 5,000 collection points for old cell phones. But the company only takes back phones, and possibly as a result has a recycling rate of only 3% to 5%. Sony’s new program is a one-stop-shop for all electronics–just take everything you don’t need anymore and haul it over.
Once you give up your old cell phones and laptops to Sony, recycling companies like Electronic Recyclers either refurbish and sell the items or crush them and sell raw materials.
Sony’s GreenFill program is starting at an opportune time. Everyone is ditching their analog TVs because of June’s digital switchover, and in the end, about 80 million old lead-filled TVs will be left homeless. It’s up to electronics makers like Sony to take responsibility for their products and prevent toxic materials from piling up in landfills.