Free and green. Those are the goals of a pilot program launched recently by the U.S. Postal Service that allows customers to recycle small electronics and inkjet cartridges by mailing them free of charge.
The “Mail Back” program helps consumers make more environmentally friendly choices, making it easier for customers to discard used or obsolete small electronics in an environmentally responsible way. Customers 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 for postage.
Postage is paid for by Clover Technologies Group, a company that recycles, remanufactures and remarkets inkjet & laser cartridges and small electronics.
If the electronic item or cartridges cannot 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 has a “zero waste to landfill” policy: it does everything it can to avoid contributing any materials to the landfills.
The free, postage-paid Mail Back envelopes can be found on displays in Post Office lobbies. There is no limit to the number of envelopes customers may take.
The pilot is set for 10 areas across the United States, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego, but could become a national program this fall if the pilot program proves successful.
This is really cool, but I have a couple of questions:
- How can we extend this to other nations?
- Can I get a Mail Back box big enough to hold about a dozen old fluorescent tube lights, 1 broken down old PC and 1 busted 21″ CRT?