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Sony Recycling Q&A with Geercom

by Team Sony 08/30/2007

We’ve had a lot of inquiries from the press and fellow bloggers about the recently announced Sony Take Back Recycling Program, which goes into effect on Sept. 15th at Waste Management recycling centers around the country.

One of our inquirers was David Geer, who has a blog called Geercom. I invite you to check out the Q&A, spread out over his Aug. 12, 19 and 26 postings, which I have pasted below. Also, you may want to take a look at the report by the Associated Press.


Q&A with David Geer from


David: How much do you expect the Sony program to save Sony consumers and Americans in general by providing an avenue for proper recycling of Sony products? Will it save consumers money in other ways? How much? How so?

Rick: Ultimately, our goal is to recycle a pound of end-of-life Sony products for every pound of new Sony products sold in the U.S.  Sony Electronics is making a significant investment in this Take Back Recycling program.  There is no charge for consumers to recycle any Sony-branded products at the participating Waste Management recycling centers.  While we are starting off modestly, our aim is to eventually have a WM depot within 20 miles of 95 percent of the American population.



David: How does the program help Sony?

Rick: Eventually, we hope to be in a position to benefit from being able to reuse recycled components in the production of new products.  Examples include plastic, metal and glass.  In the meantime, we know we are doing a good thing for the environment and hope that American consumers will step up to the idea of consumer electronics recycling.


David: What are the other impacts Sony and consumers can expect from the program?


Rick: Consumers will have a free outlet for recycling their electronics products, including all Sony products for no charge and other manufacturers’ products for a modest fee determined by Waste Management.  That said, we encourage other manufacturers to join the program so their products can be recycled by Waste Management at no cost to consumers as well at some point.


David: How will the program impact the burgeoning amounts of consumer electronics hardware waste in landfills? Just by lessening what’s added to those in the future?

Rick: One key product category is television. As more consumers shift their TV purchases to flat-panel high-definition displays like Sony’s BRAVIA LCD sets, there will be more and more of a trend for them to want or need to dispose of the old sets with Cathode Ray Tubes. Historically, consumers have moved old sets to other rooms in the household or given them to family members or friends. Then, perhaps, they would donate them, if they are still working, to charities and other nonprofit organizations. But eventually, they will need to be disposed of and the Sony Take Back Recycling Program will go a long way to help in this regard.

David: Please brief us more thoroughly on the following statement:
"The Sony Take Back Recycling Program is part of Sony’s broader global commitment to environmental stewardship, which spans product design, recycling, facilities management and energy conservation across all categories."

Rick: In addition to the new Sony Take Back Recycling Program launching here in the U.S. on September 15, the company supports a number of recycling initiatives around the world based on local practices and the laws of different countries.
Sony is particularly active in this regard in Japan and Europe.
Beyond recycling, Sony is developing "green" products and packaging made of biodegradable materials. From a new technology standpoint, the company today announced a new battery technology made from sugar extracted from carbohydrates that may find its way into various electronics products in the future.
Related to batteries, Sony is very focused on reducing energy and power consumption in its products. An excellent example of this is the Sony Reader, an e-book that uses e-Ink technology and only consumes energy when a page is turned.

David: What kind of challenge does the Program put out there to other consumer electronics vendors to establish similar programs?

Rick: We would hope that other manufacturers follow our lead and join the program so that consumers can recycle other brands of electronic devices for free. Also, we would like to see the federal government step-up with national environmental legislation embracing initiatives like the Sony Take Back Recycling Program. One of the big problems for manufacturers today is that there is a hodgepodge of state legislation in this area that ultimately ends up adding to costs because manufacturers have to adjust to several different recycling models.

David: With regards to the following statements, what kinds of savings are involved here? Who saves and how? "By recycling old electronics products, useful material?such as glass, plastic and metals?can be collected and re-used in the manufacture of other products.Recycling not only minimizes the amount of waste disposed, it also minimizes the extraction of new raw materials from the earth and resources required for processing, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gases in the process."

Rick: The savings potential is huge. Hopefully, America will embrace recycling in the area of consumer electronics just as it has in basic household goods like paper products, plastics, bottles and cans.
David: How are consumer electronics waste products then recycled back into manufacturing? What kinds of manufacturing?
Rick: The recycled components like plastic, metal and glass can be used in the production of a variety of new consumer products such as appliances and automobiles. Components can also be used in construction materials, industrial products and equipment.



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