HP works with vendors to run product reuse and recycling programs covering most of our sales volume worldwide. These focus on:
- Hardware reuse
- Hardware recycling
- Print cartridge recycling
We are also involved in initiatives to help build reuse and recycling capabilities in developing countries.
Hardware reuse programs extend the useful life of returned HP products, from PCs to data center equipment, at the end of leasing agreements or as part of trade-in agreements. The hardware is refurbished or remanufactured as appropriate, and then repackaged and resold. We offer remarketed equipment for many HP and non-HP products, and follow strict processes to protect user data and to meet environmental requirements. We offer hardware reuse programs in 53 countries or territories worldwide.
Returned products that are not suitable for reuse enter our recycling programs, along with equipment returned directly through HP recycling services. We offer hardware recycling services in 49 countries or territories worldwide. Consumer recycling services vary by country, depending partly on local regulations and infrastructure. We make appropriate recycling arrangements with commercial customers on a case-by-case basis. HP ensures protection of customers' data security for all returned products.
We are cofounders of the European Recycling Platform (ERP), which provides pan-European take-back and recycling services. In 2010, ERP recycled nearly 38,000 tonnes of equipment on behalf of HP.
In the United States, our consumer buyback program allows consumers to return information technology (IT) equipment of any brand, and check online to see how much cash they could receive for their equipment. Even if the product has no monetary value, consumers can recycle HP and Compaq products at no cost, and other brands for a small charge.
In 2010, we launched hardware recycling programs in Oman, South Africa, and United Arab Emirates.
Print cartridge recycling
We provide free recycling for HP print cartridges in 54 countries or territories covering approximately 90% of global print cartridge sales. We offer several free, postage-paid return options at www.hp.com/recycle, including printable labels, shipping envelopes, and collection boxes, and the option to order bulk pickup. Between 1991 and 2010,1 we have recycled a cumulative 200,000 tonnes of returned cartridges—equivalent to 389 million LaserJet and ink cartridges.
Under our retail recycling program in North America, customers can return used HP ink and LaserJet toner cartridges to authorized retail collection sites, including the office supplies chain store Staples' 1,875 outlets in the United States and Canada.
Since we take back only our own cartridges, we know their material content, which makes it easier to process returned cartridges and use the material to manufacture new ones. (See Materials for more information.) Our pioneering program to manufacture new Original HP ink cartridges using plastic recycled materials from used cartridges is the first such "closed loop" process in the IT industry. In November 2010, we reached a milestone by producing a cumulative one billion HP ink cartridges containing post-consumer recycled plastic.2 Eight-hundred million of those cartridges were manufactured with recycled plastic from the HP "closed loop" ink cartridge recycling process, which uses plastic from returned cartridges to make new ones.
We do not offer remanufactured print cartridges because they do not meet our quality and reliability standards.
Building capabilities in developing countries
We aim to provide convenient, competitive, and high-quality product take-back services in all regions of the world, but capabilities in developing countries vary widely. Suitable take-back and recycling infrastructure does not exist in all locations. In many countries (including China and India), there are a relatively small number of formal collection and recycling systems, and an informal sector collects and processes the bulk of electronic waste.
HP engages with governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other businesses to improve recycling capabilities. We promote solutions that improve worker health and safety and reduce potential environmental hazards, without undermining an important source of meaningful employment in disadvantaged communities.
In 2010, our activities in Africa included:
Work with Irish volunteer organization, Camara, to support the establishment of Kenya's first formal IT e-waste recycling facility: East African Computer Recycling (EACR). Located in Mombasa, the facility receives end-of-life IT equipment from Camara's school, business, and public sector customers, and will operate with high health, safety, and recycling standards. In the long term, we anticipate that the facility will capture up to 20% of Kenya's IT e-waste. HP and Camara will also engage with local informal recycling sector workers to explain that delivering whole products (rather than pre-separated components) to EACR will generate greater value, and reduce environmental and human health impacts.
Collaborate with academics from the University of Northampton, UK, to educate people about the hazards of scavenging for electronic waste. Together we delivered a series of workshops, attended by 80 people ranging from scavengers of e-waste dumps to representatives from the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA). Participants learned how to break electronic waste down safely and identify parts of value, and received equipment to help them do their jobs safely, including boots, gloves, dust masks, and high-visibility jackets.