Electronic Recycling Policies of Apple, Dell, and HP

Comparing the three giants of the electronic industry, apple, Dale, and HP, I was surprised to find that all of them were just paying lip service to being green or sustainable until very recently. There is a strong pressure by many environmentalist groups and the media, on these companies to do the right thing. The media with its recent media blitz on the e-waste crisis, has highlighted the seriousness of these problem and the urgency with which we need to act to stop any further damage to the environment. These electronic companies are getting a lot more serious about taking back used electronic equipment and recycling it responsibly. Below you will find a brief description of each of their recycling policies. Read and decide for yourself which one of them you had rather do business with.


The Apple recycling website states that their recycling policy starts at the manufacturing level. They use minimum amount of material to produce some of the most compact electronics ever. They have eliminated most of the toxic material in electronics and hope to make their products as completely free of toxic materials as possible by the year 2010. The plastics, glass and the other material they use are of very high quality and are sought out by recycling companies for the manufacture of other goods.

You can recycle your old apple computer and monitor with them for free when you buy a new or refurbished apple computer. At the time of purchasing a computer you are asked if you want to recycle. Then apple sends you an email with instruction on how you will send your old computer to them. It also includes a prepaid FedEx shipping authorization. You then have to drop off your computer at an authorized FedEx location.

If you wanted to recycle computers with them without purchasing anything you will have to pay for the FedEx authorization. Their website says the payment is $31. I am not sure whether this is standard for all items small or large. Is it the same price for shipping an apple desk top and an IPod? The website doesn’t say.

Finding the above information on Apple's wasn't that easy. I had to dig a little bit more and the instruction was not as clear as it could be.


Dell recycles their computers for free.They do recycle all other brand too but you have to buy a Dell computer for that to happen. The procedure for packaging and mailing is easy and the dell website has a clear instruction on how to do this. You simply click on Recycle Now. There is a form to fill and the website will give you a free shipping label that you print out. Package your equipment and affix the shipping label and call fed-ex for a pick up and you are done.

They will give 10% discount for those people who donate their functioning computer to the National Christina Foundation, a none profit that works to help disadvantaged and handicapped children by making computers available to them.

Dell is very big on refurbishing computers for sell. On their website they state that they encourage customers to consider buying refurbished computers.


With HP you have four options. You can donate, recycle, trade in, and sell. Hp recycles all the electronic equipment made by them for free. For electronics made by others you pay for shipping. HP recycles a wide range electronic products such as pcs, digital cameras,printersm scanners etc... Like Dell they are working with the National Christina Foundation and accept donations. But unlike Dell I didn’t see anywhere that says they will give 10% discounts when you donate. So it means there is no incentive for donating.

The trade in program allows you to trade in your old electronic for a new one. I wanted to see how easily I can navigate through the page. I entered the information for my 2006 Sony DSC-S600 camera and my quote was $5. The amount is too low for me. I bought it about 4 years ago for about $175 and is in perfect condition. It takes great pictures. So I guess I will hang on to it.

The selling option may work for you if you are selling a PC and its accessories and probably one that is not too old. Again I entered my digital camera just out of curiosity for a quote. It said my camera has no resell value therefore I should consider donating or recycling it. I have a feeling I will do a lot better on Craigslist or even on e-Bay.


In conclusion all of them have some strong points and some weak points. Apple's strong point is that they put a lot of effort to make their products as environmentally friendly as possible at the manufacturing level. When it comes to actual recycling though they don’t fare as well. The website is not very user friendly when it comes to recycling used electronics. For instance it doesn’t give you all the information that you need to recycle upfront on the first page. I had to dig around for it. The other problem is that shipping is not convenient at all. You have to take your electronics to an authorized FedEx location for shipment.

Dell is weak in using environmentally friendly material at the production level but is very strong at recycling old computers. Recycling is completely free and FedEx picks up the electronics from your home.

Hp is strong in recycling wide range of electronics equipment and offering four ways to recycle, buyback, trade in, recycle and donate. The procedure to ship is not as easy or convenient as Dale’s, but is a lot better than Apple’s. If you don't want to pay shipping you have to drop of your electronics at a FedEx location. For them to come pick it up at your residence you have to pay $10 pick up fee.


So which one of the big three has the best recycling policy? Probably Apple is my answer, because of their efforts to eliminate toxic material and to use less material at the production level, This means less energy is used recycling and there will be less to recycle in the end. But still it is really important for Apple to improve its recycling policy.

In second place I will place Dell because of the ease and convenience of shipping the electronics to be recycled and it is completely free. I also like the strong refurbished computer sails policy they have.

A close third is HP. Hp could make their website more user friendly. Both HP and Dell should make efforts to remove toxic material form their products and make them in such a way so that they can be easily recyclable at the end of their life.

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Comments 2 comments

used hp computers 5 years ago

Indeed a very good read! Very informative post with pretty good insight on all aspects of the topic! Will keep visiting in future too!

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lelanew55 5 years ago Author

Thanks for the kindl comment. Please keep coming back and spread the word too.

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