The Electronics TakeBack Coalition has released a new report that shows how electronics retailers are performing when it comes to taking back and recycling what they sell. The group looked at the top 16 retailers (this group excludes retailers that are also manufacturers like Apple, HP and Dell) and scored them using 20 sets of criteria including convenience, transparency, collection volumes and responsible recycling.
Three companies stood out among the rest with Staples in first place, then Best Buy and Office Depot, each with great in-store take-back programs with high volumes. The rest lagged seriously behind with nine of the 16 not having any recycling program in place at all.
The report didn't include things like ink and toner or trade-in volumes, though those things are discussed in the full report. The major issue was looking at what each retailer sold and what of that it took back. Best Buy was the only retailer to take back each category of electronics it sold, including TVs. Staple takes back everything except TVs and while Office Depot doesn't technically rule out any category, items must fit into a collection box 24” x 18” x 18" in size, which means TVs and many printers won't fit.
Another major issue was transparency. Most companies wouldn't disclose the volume of products coming back for recycling or reuse. In fact Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max, and Staples were the only companies to give the coalition those numbers. The rest refused to give that data, presumably because the numbers were dismal.