Best Buy sets new high for recycling electronics

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The Best Buy campus in Richfield, Minn., on Feb. 26, 2013.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Best Buy reached a new high for recycling last year, as the retailer collected 173 million pounds of unwanted appliances and electronics.

In-store electronics recycling collections have been growing at a 20 percent annual clip for several years, said Leo Raudys, the retailer's senior director for environmental stability.

"About half of the weight we collect is TVs, and most of that is still the old tube TVs," Raudys said. "So there's quite a bit more out there than you would imagine. About 30 percent of the rest of the weight is computer monitors. Again, very heavy. A lot of glass. And the rest is made up of things like desktops and laptops and miscellaneous electronics."

Best Buy's recycling program basically breaks even. The company receives money from gold and other valuable materials recovered from electronic waste. Best Buy also is paid by some electronics manufacturers for helping them meet government recycling mandates.

Best Buy stores in Minnesota collected more than 9 million pounds of unwanted electronics last year, more than any other state.

The Best Buy website provides details about which items the retailer will accept for recycling.

Stores will not accept tube TVs with screens larger than 32 inches or flat-panel TVs with screens bigger than 60 inches.

But Best Buy will pick up and haul away large televisions and major appliances at no charge if a customer has a new TV or appliance delivered.

"We'll take up to two large items away for free, and if you're not purchasing anything we offer that service for a fee -- $99 for up to two items," Raudys said.

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