Post office launches free e-waste recycling by mail

Right now, next to my dresser is a slowly growing pile of e-detritus. There’s an old Dell notebook battery, a docking station to a dead Palm Treo, and some plugs to things I’ve long since lost. I’d like to do the right thing and send this e-waste to a proper recycler. But I’ve missed two special recycling events in NYC, and the stuff hasn’t moved an inch. Soon, I’ll have an alternative. The US Post Office is making it simpler to recycle e-waste. With its new “Mail Back” program customers can use free envelopes found in 1,500 Post Offices to mail back inkjet cartridges, PDAs, Blackberries, digital cameras, iPods and MP3 players – without having to pay mailing fees. Postage is paid for by Clover Technologies Group, which recycles, remanufactures and remarkets inkjet cartridges, laser cartridges and small electronics. If the refuse can’t be refurbished and resold, its component parts are reused to refurbish other items, or the parts are broken down further and the materials are recycled. Clover Technologies Group has a “zero waste to landfill” policy: it does everything it can to avoid contributing any materials to the nation’s landfills. To start with, the postage-paid Mail Back envelopes can be found on displays in Post Office lobbies. In 10 areas across the country, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego. If the pilot goes well, the post office plans to extend the program nation wide.

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