Sunday, February 17, 2008

Turn Your Used and Unwanted Electronics into Cash

(ARA) – Electronics have become a mainstay of our American way of life. These days, it seems like just about every household has a computer or two, several television sets and DVD players, a game system, cell phones and more. Not to mention the stockpiles of old electronics, set aside when they became obsolete.

How many old cell phones, computers and monitors do you still have sitting around? How about your neighbor, and your neighbor’s neighbor? The statistics are staggering.

According to a study done by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2005 Americans had between 1.9 and 2.2 million tons of used and unwanted electronics. An estimated 1.5 to 1.9 million tons of them ended up in landfills. Between 345,000 and 379,000 tons were responsibly disposed of at recycling facilities. The rest likely remain in people’s closets and garages today.

Recognizing the need to offer consumers a better end-of-life (EOL) solution for their old electronics, Young America Corporation, a company that handles customer fulfillment programs for retailers and manufacturers, recently commissioned a study to find out what it would take to get people to change their behavior and think about recycling first.

A total of 902 people who had either replaced electronics in the past 12 months or were planning to replace them within the next 12 months were surveyed in August 2007. While 69 percent of the participants were aware of the availability of electronics recycling programs, only two percent had actually participated in one.

When asked what kind of incentive it would take for them to recycle electronics, almost half of the respondents said they would recycle a cell phone for nothing in return. Just over half said they would recycle a desktop for $20 to $50 or a similar charitable donation, while most replacing a laptop were split between recycling for nothing and between $50 and $100.

In addition, 75 percent of those surveyed said they’d like the ability to check the value of the product to be recycled before making a decision. A strong majority also said they would feel more comfortable “cleaning” personal information off the device themselves rather than trusting the recycler, but would accept the offer of free online software that would help them get the job done.

In response to the survey results, Young America Corporation teamed up with Eco International, a company specializing in the disposition of e-Waste and The Wireless Source, one of the largest mobile phone recycling companies in the United States, to create MyBoneYard.com, a site billed the Simple, Safe and Smart way to recycle electronics.

The site is easy to use. All you have to do is log on to www.MyBoneYard.com and click on the link at the top of the page that says “Getting Started.” Then choose the type of device you want to dispose of -- a PC system with or without the monitor, a laptop, cell phone, smart phone or flat panel monitor. Next, use the pull down menus to provide information about your device, such as the manufacturer, model and its condition.

If the device is still being used today, you’ll likely be offered a reward for turning it in. Fill out the form that asks for your name and address and a pre-paid mailer will be sent to you. Once MyBoneYard.com receives the device, your reward will be put in the mail.

If the device is obsolete, meaning it has no salvage value, you’ll still be offered a free mailing label and free recycling, but instead of a monetary reward, you’ll get an entry into the site’s $2,500 sweepstakes.

“When you trade in a used car you get something back. It only makes sense that you should also expect to receive compensation for the used electronics you invested your hard earned money in. In most cases, they still have value when you’re done with them,” says Thomas Muhs, director of product development for Young America Corporation.

"MyBoneYard is simple, because it is easy for consumers to use; safe, because it protects both consumer data and the environment; and smart because consumers are doing what they are supposed to and getting rewarded for their efforts. What more do you need?" asks Bob Sullivan, president of The Wireless Source.

“There’s currently nothing else out there that collectively addresses the needs of the consumer and the industry,” adds John Matthews, CEO of Eco International.

Several major retailers are considering participating in the program in the near future, but you don’t have to wait for them to sign on to take part. Get rewarded for recycling your used or unwanted electronics today by logging on to www.MyBoneYard.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent
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