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[GreenYes] TakeBack -- The Solution for Old Electronics
Have a dead computer in the garage, basement or attic?  
There's a solution....

November 27, 2001

Contacts: David Wood, GrassRoots Recycling 
Network - 608-270-0940
Ted Smith or Leslie Byster, Silicon Valley 
Toxics Coalition - 408-287-6707 


New national Computer TakeBack Campaign 

Madison, WI - In a nationally coordinated 
action, groups across the U.S. have joined 
together to release the 3rd Annual Computer 
Report Card and to launch the Computer TakeBack 
Campaign. The Computer Report Card provides 
consumers, local governments, and activists 
with a tool to measure electronics equipment 
and the environmental performance of companies 
that produce computers. 

The Computer Report Card reveals that US 
companies are continuing to lag further behind 
their overseas competitors in clean production, 
health-related issues and producing 
environmentally superior products.

"E-waste (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 and National 
Coordinator of the Computer TakeBack Campaign.

In response to this growing environmental 
threat, dozens of organizations across the 
country have formed the Computer TakeBack 
Campaign to promote producer responsibility and 
clean production in the personal computer and 
consumer electronics industry. The Campaign 
provides a forum for consumers and local 
governments to voice their concern for an 
appropriate, effective solution to the 
electronics waste issue.

"Many companies in countries throughout Europe 
and Asia are implementing extended producer 
responsibility programs in response to 
government regulations," said David Wood of the 
Grassroots Recycling Network and Organizing 
Director of the Computer TakeBack Campaign. 
"Having producers assume responsibility for 
their products requires them to internalize 
costs they now pass on to taxpayers and local 
governments. Producer take back requirements 
also create a powerful incentive to reduce such 
costs by designing products that are cleaner 
and safer, more durable and reusable, and 
easier to disassemble and recycle."

The Campaign's Report Card reveals several 
troubling double standards in the global 
production of computers: between countries, 
among companies, and even within companies 
doing business in different areas of the world.  
Over the past year, several environmental and 
health initiatives with important impacts on 
the high-tech sector have come forth in Europe 
and Japan.  In stark contrast, there have been 
no major initiatives in the U.S. 

"Consumers in the US are receiving second-class 
treatment from high-tech companies that think 
they're first-class global companies," said 
David Wood of the GrassRoots Recycling Network.

The Computer Report Card results indicate that 
companies maintain disparate practices by 
meeting higher standards outside of the U.S. 
Yet these same companies do not transfer these 
practices back home: 

* Since 1989, IBM has offered product take-back 
programs in certain European countries free of 
charge where required by law.   By contrast, 
IBM announced a U.S. take-back effort earlier 
this year, but  charge $29.99 per unit-- a 
clear disincentive for consumer participation.  

* Apple Computer of Germany provides a take-
back program where customers can return 
electronic appliances at no charge due to 
legislative requirements, but offer no such 
program to US consumers.  

* In a similar case, Sony Electronics and other 
partners unveiled a limited 5-year program in 
October 2000 to collect and recycle electronics 
from residential customers in certain parts of 
the US.  On the other hand, the same company 
has a full scale take-back program for computer 
monitors in Germany.

* The European Parliament recently voted to 
phase out the use of some of the most hazardous 
substances in the electronics industry, as has 
Japan.  As a result, some Japanese companies 
offer lead free products or products without 
brominated flame retardants. US companies are 
lagging well behind.

"Companies in Europe and Asia are detoxifying 
their products and taking them back," said 
Michael Bender of the Mercury Policy Project. 
"The Campaign urges U.S. companies to plug into 
Extended Producer Responsibility."


The Computer Report Card is being released in 
over one dozen metropolitan areas, including 
Boston, MA; NY, NY; Washington, DC; Atlanta, 
GA; Montpelier, VT, Philadelphia, PA; Madison, 
WI; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Austin, TX; 
Boulder, CO; Portland, OR, Austin, TX, 
Providence, RI; and San Jose, CA.

Founding members of the Computer TakeBack 
Campaign include: As You Sow Foundation, Clean 
Production Network, Clean Water Action, 
Communications Workers of America,  GrassRoots 
Recycling Network, INFORM, Institute for Local 
Self Reliance, Materials for the Future 
Foundation,  Mercury Policy Project, and 
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. For more 
information on the Computer Report Card, the 
Campaign Platform and its participants, visit 
us on the web at or 

The full text of the report is available on-line at


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