Yesterday, April 24, 2012, GreenBiz.com published a story about Best Buy’s ewaste recycling program being a profitable endeavor while remaining free to consumers by utilizing state manufacturer takeback laws.
Today, the program generates two streams of revenue. First, Best Buy takes a cut from its recycling partners. When truckloads of old TVs, PCs and dryers go to its processing partners, the plastic, gold, lead, nickel and other materials recovered from the dismantled waste is sold to be remade into new materials. And while volatile, the prices for all of these commodities have generally been heading up over the past few years, raising the share that comes back to Best Buy. A very small percentage of the waste, Raudys estimates, ends up recovered and refurbished.
Secondly, Best Buy collects revenues from its partners: big, well-known electronics brands. “25 states have rules requiring that manufacturers recycle some share of what they sell every year,” Raudys said. “Our network can deliver efficiencies that [the electronics makers] can’t match, so they buy access to it.”
Best Buy has also been able improve its margins by steadily lowering the costs of collecting and transporting the consumer waste by improving workflows and boosting volumes, he said. Higher volumes of waste let Best Buy win more competitive rates from its recycling partners as well.
Best Buy has stepped up shown that this program works and generates revenue so why don’t other retailers like Walmart step up too? To learn more and encourage Walmart to do what Best Buy does, visit the TCE website here and TakeItBackWalmart.com.
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