US hi-tech companies continue to lag behind their European and Japanese counterparts in recycling old machines, according to a new report.
Seven of the top ranked companies, including Toshiba, Sony and Fujitsu, are based in Japan and, with few exceptions, most of the US companies, including Gateway, Dell and Lexmark, scored near the bottom of the pack. Hewlett Packard, IBM and Apple fared slightly better.
Computer companies were ranked by their willingness to recycle old machines from the public, the use of hazardous materials in building computers, reporting of recycling and toxics data, and the health of workers.
"Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing and most toxic waste streams, threatening human health and the environment," said Ted Smith, executive director of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) and co-ordinator of the national Computer TakeBack Campaign (CTBC).
Founding members of the campaign include Clean Production Network, Communications Workers of America, GrassRoots Recycling Network, Mercury Policy Project and the SVTC.
David Wood, of the GrassRoots Recycling Network, said: "Consumers in the US are receiving second-class treatment from hi-tech companies that think they're first-class global companies."
CTBC was formed to promote clean and green electronics production and responsible end-of-life management through producer responsibility in the US that is at least comparable to Japan and certain European countries.
For example, IBM has for several years offered a product take-back programme in certain European countries where required by law. By contrast, it announced a US take-back effort earlier this year, but charged $29.99 to recycle computer equipment.
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