Retailers with the Best Recycling Programs

By Larraine Roulston:

Recyclable items that are not part of municipal collection programs make recycling inconvenient for citizens. To address this issue, the following retailers have stepped up to make recycling their products, as well as those of their competitors, easier for customers.

Apple, best known for its computers, has made it possible to recycle its gadgets. With its in-store recycling program, the company accepts electronic devices returned for recycling free of charge. Customers will be given credit if their returned items have retained their value. Apples new disassembly robot efficiently recovers resources inside iPhones. This service, however, may not apply to all stores.

 Aveda, a cosmetic company, was the first in its field to offer 100% post-consumer recycled PET packaging. With its commitment to sustainable packaging, Aveda estimates that it has saved approximately 600 tons of virgin plastic from being produced annually.

 Best Buy, a technology company, has collected more than 1 billion pounds of e-waste. Its goal is to double that amount by 2020. Through its trade-in program, customers receive gift cards for returning used electronics. Unfortunately, to offset its recycling expenses, the company charges $25 to accept TVs and monitors.

  Nike designed a method to recycle worn footwear. With athletes in mind, tattered shoes together with the companys manufacturing trimmings are recycled with its Nike Grind. New shoes, apparel and sports surfaces that include running tracks, gym floors, tennis courts, turf fields, playgrounds, as well as carpet padding have been created. Worldwide, over 10,000 surfaces have been installed to date.

 Patagonia, manufacturers of insulated clothing and other products, has helped to close the recycling loopfor worn textiles. The company, through its “Common Threads Initiative” ensures that garments stay in use longer through repair, reuse and, ultimately, recycling. At Patagonia retail locations, customers can trade in their used gear and obtain credit toward another new or used outfit. In 1993, the company manufactured its first polyester fleece jacket from recycled plastic bottles. Today, using recycled plastic bottles, Patagonia now produces 82 productstoward sustainable clothing.

In 2007 Staples pioneered retailers in the U.S. to offer a national recycling program. Office equipment, regardless of where it was purchased, was welcomed in any U.S. Staples outlet for free recycling. In 2015, through its U.S. program, Staples gathered more than 16.7 million pounds of electronics. Also, the company is known to be the leader in recycling ink cartridges. Staples allows customers to earn $2 in rewards for recycling ink cartridgeswhen purchasing a minimum of $30 on ink or toner. Over 50.4 million ink and toner cartridges are credited to its recycling program.

 When applying the closed-loop approach and taking a stewardship role, other retailers also realize that what was previously considered waste is now treated as a resource. At the same time, they are making it easier for their customers to be part of the solution.

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Larraine writes childrens adventure stories on composting and pollinating. To order, visit www.castlecompost.com

Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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