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Dell Steps-Up Recycling Plan

As many computer users grumble over the obsolete nature of their equipment and the question of what to do with all that hardware waste, Dell Computer made moves this week to expand its recycling program and make it all that much easier for consumers to rid themselves of useless equipment.

Assuming you have the time and patience to get a box, some packing tape, and a label.

Just in time for Earth Day on April 22, a time when anyone with even the slightest inkling of environmental awareness makes a gesture of restitution to Mother Earth, Dell announced plans for a consumer recycling program that picks up unwanted computer equipment by appointment and ships it to a Dell recycling vendor for $15 per item.

Dell Recycling, formerly known as the Dell Exchange, was set in place not only to create an extended recycling option for new customers who want to replace old equipment with new, but for regular Dell consumers who simply don't know what to do with the quagmire of defunct or out-dated desktops, printers, and notebooks collecting in their closets.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 250 million computers are destined to become obsolete by 2005.

The goal of Dell's new program is to collect 100 tons of used computer equipment that can either be donated or recycled. Any hardware that is deemed re-usable will be donated to the National Cristina Foundation (NCF), a non-profit organization that distributes used technology to various needy organizations and public agencies. Although donated hardware to NCF must have all components in place (i.e. hard drive, monitor, keyboard and mouse) and the item's original software licenses.

To accelerate its recycling program, Dell is also launching a five-city recycling tour on March 29 leading up to Earth Day that will collect old equipment at specific tour stops along the way in Nashville, Tenn., Columbus, Ohio, Charlotte, N.C., Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas.

According to Dell, the Recycling Tour will pick up all computer and computer-related equipment including connectors/cords/wire, circuit boards, fax machines, printers, mainframes, modems, monitors, hard drives, memory, CD ROM drives, tape drives, floppy drives, scrap computers, plastic, motherboards, power supplies, scrap copper, scrap computer metal, and network/video/sound cards.

Dell claims no responsibility for data left on donated or recycled computer equipment.

The Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker's stepped-up recycling effort comes on the heels of Hewlett-Packard's similar effort to fortify its recycling plan, which has been in place since 1992.

In February of this year, HP launched an e-Coupon Recycling Program designed to encourage HP customers to act more responsibly in their disposal of recyclable computer equipment.

HP's rewards program is part of the HP Planet Partners and complements other HP environmental programs, including one that assists customers in recycling LaserJet and inkjet cartridges.

HP also co-operates a recycling facility in Roseville, Calif. that processes 3 million pounds of unwanted computer equipment each month. Last year alone, HP recycled 260 tons of electronic equipment.

Dell's new pick-up service is only available in the U.S. and will begin on March 25.