As environmental concerns grow over rising levels of electronic waste and governments begin to take action, one of the world's largest suppliers of IT products is taking steps to accelerate its recycling efforts.
HP aimed to recycle 500 million kilograms of electronic products and printing supplies globally by 2007 after having recycled more than 45 million kilogram last year, company spokesperson, Denise Rennmann, said.
Since HP launched its recycling initiative in 1987, the company had recycled a total 226 million kilograms, a figure that excluded the millions of products that it and its partners refurbish, reuse, donate and resell yearly, the manufacturer said.
The rush to increase its recycling capabilities came as the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, put the finishing touches on its Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive.
Under the directive, manufacturers will be responsible for taking back and recycling electrical and electronic equipment, according to the Commission's Web site.
The legislation was designed to provide incentives to design equipment in an environmentally more efficient way, it said.
HP launched a new pilot recycling plan in Reutlingen, Germany, on Wednesday, according to Rennmann.
Under the plan, the company has located containers at established recycling points in the city.
"With this project, we want to learn more about the logistics of a citywide recycling program and also about the age and type of products being returned and how many of these are made by us," he said.
Last year, the US company opened its first European inkjet print cartridge recycling facility in Turnau, Germany. It recently organised a one-day recycling event at a Mediamarkt electronic store in Sindelfingen, Germany, where customers were able to return old IT products and receive a voucher to use toward the purchase of any new HP product.
In about 20 European markets, HP has also begun to include postage-paid labels and envelopes in replacement boxes for its LaserJet and inkjet print cartridges.
To help control costs, HP has joined forces with several vendors, including Sony and Electrolux, to establish the European Recycling Platform to study recycling technologies, logistics and tendering methods for recycling services.