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Toshiba Canada launches recycling program

Following other hardware manufacturers, Toshiba of Canada has started a recycling program to ensure most unwanted computer gear is disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.

Toshiba’s Environmental Recovery and Recycling Effort (TERRE) will pick up, at no cost to an individual, any brand of notebook, Pocket PC or LCD monitor.

As an added incentive, the company will send donors a USB flash drive after the unit is picked up and couriered to a recycling plant.

For now, desktop towers, system units or CRT displays are not included in the program.

“We rationalized that by saying these are things we have not sold into the Canadian market,” said Todd Smith, director of product marketing at Toshiba Canada’s Information Systems Group.

“In the past we have sold LCDs, notebooks and Pocket PCs, so we feel comfortable disposing those items.”

Smith added that the cost of disposal for Toshiba will range between $50 and $75 per unit.

Since last September, Toshiba has been manufacturing notebooks that comply with environmental guidelines set by the European Parliament —known as RoHS, for restrictions on hazardous substances — which will go into effect on July 1.

The goal of RoHS is to reduce the use of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium and both polybrominated biphenyl and polybrominated biphenyl ether flame retardants in the production of new electrical and electronic equipment.

Although TERRE is largely aimed at end users, Smith said it can be adapted to resellers dealing with large volume business customers who need to dispose old equipment.

“It wouldn’t necessarily be free at that point if there are hundreds and thousands of notebooks,” he said. “We’d have to build it into the bid situation and that’s how we’ll get the channel involved.”

Reseller opportunity
According to Saar Pikar, senior vice-president and general manager of CDI Computers, the channel is still unaware of the service opportunity in recycling old equipment.

“Resellers will sell the brand new computer but not ask the customer about the old ones. There hasn’t been a big shift in thinking,” he said.

“You can definitely sometimes win a deal because you actually provided a solution for the used computers,” said Pikar.

“A lot of resellers think about it as just a problem but it definitely is an opportunity.”

Last year, CDI Computers recycled four per cent of the unwanted units it acquired from corporations. The remaining 96 percent were resold.

“We’re in the business of doing that so we try to find the value wherever we can,” he said.

“A two-year-old computer today still has a value of $100-$200 on the market, so not only are you helping somebody but you might just improve your bottom line on the deal.”