Best Buy Wants to Collect 1 Billion Pounds of E-Waste Over the Next 5 Years

Best Buy e-cycle billboard

Walmart isn’t the only big box retailer making inroads in the sustainability arena. Best Buy, which released its 2010 Sustainability Report this week, has an ambitious plan to collect one billion pounds of e-waste over the next five years. It’s a goal that requires a doozy of a recycling program–and Best Buy thinks it can deliver.

According to Best Buy’s People + Power
Corporate Social Responsibility Report (PDF)
, the chain has collected over 140 million pounds of appliances and electronics in the past year alone. Best Buy hopes to ramp up that number dramatically with in-store kiosks (now available in every location), online trade-in programs, and even home electronics pickup (provided for free if the deadweight device is being replaced by a new Best Buy product or for a small fee otherwise). Best Buy’s extensive online trade-in center outlines the store’s recycling programs for customers.

By next year, the chain hopes to be able to accept most old electronics that haven’t been purchased at Best Buy. And in case people don’t know that the chain has the largest retail recycling program in the country, Best Buy has plastered a giant billboard in Times Square with old electronics and the Best Buy logo to make them aware.

It’s a clever marketing move–as consumers become more aware of the issues surrounding e-waste, they will increasingly want to shop at responsible electronics retailers. And Best Buy is firmly establishing itself as the easiest retailer for e-waste recycling. The chain has other sustainability initiatives–it is pilot-testing home energy management services and has a partnership with the DOE and EPA help customers save money on utility bills, for example–but the ever-growing e-waste program stands out as Best Buy’s signature initiative.


Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.AS