Can Sony Save the Environment?

Dennis Faas's picture

Sony is jumping on the 'save the earth' bandwagon with its "Take Back Recycling Program". Starting September 15, 2007, Sony will recycle its customers' Sony-brand electronic products free of charge.

Sony's new recycling program is coming at a good time. Lately, electronic waste has been growing; in 2005, between 1.9 million and 2.2 million tons of electronics products were discarded in the U.S., and as little as 345,000 tons was recycled. With the increase in the number of electronic gadgets being produced and the decrease in prices, once a new product comes along the old one quickly finds itself at the bottom of a plastic bag sitting on the curb. (Source:

75 drop-off locations will be offered in the U.S., operated by WM Recycle America LLC. As well, Sony plans to eventually include about 150 drop-off points -- at least one in each state -- within the year. Sony is even working towards a goal of having centers within 20 miles of 95 per cent of the U.S. population. However, why does this recycling program not include Canada? With all of Sony's efforts in the U.S., it may be correct to believe that the environment in Canada is not as important as that on the other side of the Detroit River. (Source:

Besides its lack of universality, a few other problems with the Take Back Recycling Program exist. The first one is transportation. If you want Sony to recycle your products, you have to get in your car and drive to the nearest drop-off site which, as mentioned earlier, could be as far as 20 miles away. Apple's recycling program exceeds Sony's in this case because Apple allows customers to ship used electronics to them through FedEx. Apple also surpasses Sony in terms of what it will take back. In the Sony program, only Sony products are welcome. Electronics from other companies can be recycled, but the consumer has to pay for the recycling process. Apple, on the other hand, will accept your old equipment regardless of the manufacturer. Dell also rises above Sony because it will dispose of other brands as long as you purchase one of its products.

Although Sony's new recycling program has good intentions, some glitches still need to be worked out.

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