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Gateway Joins Recycling/Trade-in Trend

Similar to the way that automobile dealers take trade-ins when making a new car purchase, Gateway Monday launched an initiative that would let its customers get credit for their old PCs.

The Poway, Calif.-based computer maker began offering its on-site removal under the guise of its "Gateway Asset Recovery Services". The plan incorporates End of Life (EOL) Certified Disposal and Used Equipment Remarketing Service.

For $30 per unit (PC, notebook, monitor or server with weight limit of 40 lbs.) Gateway will breakdown and recycle the hardware in compliance with changing local, state, federal and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines. The company would also be responsible for cleaning data from hard drives to protect confidential data.

On the flip side, Gateway would then provide cash or credit toward future hardware purchases depending on the condition of the equipment and whether it can be refurbished and resold.

"There are more important things for organizations to worry about than what to do with their old and outdated hardware," Gateway vice president of services Jim Jones said in a statement. "Gateway Asset Recovery Services provides a single point of accountability for meeting guidelines on hardware disposal, and also allows organizations to reinvest in new equipment. Just as important, it makes it easy to dispose of old PCs in an environmentally sound way."

Gateway's program somewhat mirrors similar offerings from rivals Dell Computer and Hewlett-Packard . Both of those companies also offer to pick up and dispose of a customer's hardware no mater what vendor it is.

The recycle campaigns have been a conundrum for vendors who wish to sell more units but maintain an "Earth-friendly" image. An estimated 315 million computers will find their way into the trash bin by 2004, according to the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, and yet there are only limited resources in place for dealing with this volume of waste. Out of the 66 million tons of solid waste that Californians generate every year, studies have indicated that 50 percent of that waste comes from the business sector.

The U.S. EPA estimates that computers and other electronic equipment account for about 220 million tons of waste per year in the United States, and that 75 percent of obsolete electronics are still gathering dust in storerooms.

Gateway said its strategy is to piggy-back its Asset Recovery Services as a part of its LifeCycle Services, which provides organizations with hardware, support and related services they need through all stages of their hardware's lifespan.

The launch of its Asset Recovery Services is also the latest effort from Gateway as it transforms itself from a traditional PC maker to what it identifies itself as a "branded integrator of technology solutions". The company has already branched out into selling non-PC devices such as big-screen televisions. Gateway said it would launch an array of branded products in several new categories by the end of the year.