Best Buy’s announcement this week that it will start charging for some of its electronics recycling may be a harbinger of the return of fee-based electronics recycling, due to lowered demand for components, the trend toward lighter products and a glut of the old heavy screens now cluttering basements across the country.
In a statement Monday, the retail giant said it has to start charging consumers $25 for each TV and computer monitor brought to their stores for recycling. The company has already operated the largest e-waste recovery program in the country, but Laura Bishop, vice president of public affairs and sustainability, said in a statement that the firm hasn’t been able to reach its goal of at least breaking even.
“The new fees will help cover the increasing cost of managing TV and monitor disposal through our network of stores, distribution centers and recycling partners,” Bishop said. “E-waste volume is rising, commodity prices are falling and global outlets for recycled glass, a key component of TVs and monitors, have dramatically declined. More and more cities and counties have cut their recycling programs for budget reasons, limiting consumer options even further. While providing recycling solutions for our customers is a priority, Best Buy should not be the sole e-cycling provider in any given area, nor should we assume the entire cost.”