Seeing Green: HP Calls on IT Industry to Prioritize Recycling

In a recent blog post, HP calls for increased transparency and accountability from big IT companies when it comes to properly recycling used electronics.

To demonstrate their “deepening” commitment to these environmental efforts, HP released a full list of the names and locations of its recycling vendors. This effort coincides with the e-Trash Transparency Project, an initiative launched by the Basel Action Network (BAN) in an effort to provide accurate data to the public on where old recycled electronics actually end up.

BAN is an environmental nonprofit whose mission is to champion global environmental health and justice by ending toxic trade, catalyzing a toxics-free future and campaigning for everyone’s right to a clean environment.

Why is this important?

Electronics recycling is a “complex and multi-step” process which typically concludes in treatment centers in developing countries throughout the world. After waste arrives for processing, it typically receives “minimal oversight.”

According to BAN, this oversight can lead to “unsafe labor and environmental conditions,” meaning that the “well-intended act of recycling has the potential to harm workers, their communities and the environment.”

HP currently offers takeback and recycling programs for used electronics and printing supplies in over 70 countries and territories through their 25-year-old Planet Partners program. According to HP, the company recaptured and recycled over 3.3 billion pounds of computer and printing hardware and 682 million ink and toner cartridges since 1987.

“HP is disclosing its recycling partners to raise the bar for transparency in our industry and to highlight the high standards we set for those vendors. We challenge other companies in and outside of the high-tech industry to follow our lead and disclose recycler vendor standards and performance, as well as the list of recycling vendors they employ globally,” says Annukka Dickens, HP director of human rights and supply chain responsibility.

Sources: Recycling Today, HP Newsroom Blog, Basel Action Network