In the ongoing race to protect the planet, we’re frequently asked to make changes – both large and small – to reduce the impact our everyday lives have on the environment. Whether it’s eliminating items from our diets, turning off water while brushing our teeth or driving a hybrid vehicle, it seems every day we learn of a new course of action that will help the environment. But one concept that has been around a while is recycling.

The idea that recycling benefits the environment is intuitive: it’s taking used items or resources and reclaiming them for use in making new items. Resources are able to be used more than once, reducing the need for virgin materials.

But what most people don’t know is how many items they use on a day-to-day basis are recyclable. Plastic bottles, cans and newspapers are commonly recycled, but many other things are not. Clothing such as worn-out tennis shoes and jeans can now be recycled: returned tennis shoes are being turned into play surfaces and equipment or new athletic gear; worn-out jeans are being recycled and turned into housing insulation or pencils, among other things.

Another thing people often don’t think to recycle is their electronics. As we all get more connected, our homes are full of electronic devices, from cell phones and mobile devices, to computers of all shapes and sizes  and entertainment devices like TVs, DVD players and game consoles. But what do you do when you upgrade your TV or deplete an ink cartridge? Much of it ends up as electronic waste, or e-waste.

You can recycle those items. And HP can help you do that.

HP’s recycling program has many components:

We offer free hardware and cartridge recycling via our website ( Customers simply follow the instructions for the item they wish to recycle and then print a pre-paid shipping label to mail the item to HP for recycling.

We also work with partners and sponsors to make it easy for customers to recycle used items.

We are working with Staples to collect used electronic devices – any type, any brand – for return and recycling. Commonly used items like notebook and desktop PCs, monitors, printers and keyboards are among the items accepted.To participate, customers simply drop off used electronics items at the service desk of participating Staples stores. Staples and HP have been offering free ink cartridge recycling for a while now and we are excited about this expansion into hardware.

We are also working with more than 4000 OfficeMax and Walmart locations throughout the U.S. to offer free ink cartridge return and recycling. As part of our Planet Partners program, these cartridges will be processed for recycling and the plastics recovered from these cartridges will be manufactured into new HP print cartridges. Through this “closed loop” recycling program, we have made nearly 2 billion cartridges with recycled plastic.

While these recycling partnerships and milestones are relatively new, the concept of recycling is not new to HP. HP first began recycling in 1967 with an internal program for recycling used computer code cards. In 1987, HP began electronics recycling and a few years later (1991) launched the Planet Partners program for recycling print cartridges.  Since launching the electronics recycling program in 1987, we have collected more than 2 billion pounds of equipment for recycling and have set a goal of collecting an additional 1.5 billion pounds by 2015. By returning your used electronics and print cartridges, you can help us achieve this goal – and reduce your environmental impact.

Photo courtesy HP.

About The Author

Jeff Walter

Jeff Walter is the director of sustainability and social innovation for HP, focused on the printing business, working across multiple business units to identify, define and deliver on key responsibility goals. Additionally, Jeff works closely with HP partners including World Wildlife Fund and Forest Stewardship Council to drive HP’s sustainability initiatives forward.