Computer recycling program adds incentive

Abbey Stirgwolt

First graders are taught to throw their trash into trash cans. Glass bottles and old newspapers go into recycling bins. But where do computers go?

Apple knows the answer, and it hopes to get word out to first graders – and their superiors – across the country.

The software company recently debuted an extension to its recycling program, which has been in existence since 2001. Buyers of new Macintosh computers will be able to ship back their old ones, free of charge, to be recycled by Apple.

“Apple is committed to supporting our customers and protecting the environment throughout the entire product life cycle, from purchase through to retirement,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, in a press release. “Now we are making it even easier for Apple’s customers to safely and affordably recycle their used computers and iPods.”

The program includes a clause for iPods, which can be purchased at a 10 percent discount on the same day old ones are returned.

Network Services Director Greg Seibert said Kent State uses a similar recycling program offered by Dell.

Seibert said in the past the university has also sent its old equipment to a prison near Youngstown, since law prohibits older systems from being dumped into landfills.

Older computers and other electronics – even the once-popular children’s “light-up” shoes – contain chemicals such as arsenic, lead and mercury, and have raised concerns about chemical poisoning.

Because of this, government regulations have in the past few years prompted major electronics companies to stick to more environmentally friendly materials.

Apple’s program extension is the latest of these: an attempt to encourage customers to save the environment – and to keep buying Macs.

Though she admitted it’s something she hasn’t often thought about, junior nursing major Athena Stamoules said she supports the program.

“I would do it as long as they made it easy for you to do,” she said.

Contact technology reporter Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected].