Many people in the U.S. are looking for more convenient ways to simplify their lives and live more comfortably. Interestingly, this greatly includes the need to recycle old home appliances.

Recycling Electronic Devices

It can be challenging if you can’t dispose of old and dysfunctional electronics effectively. And this is where Best Buy comes in. Best buy (America’s retail giant) offers a remarkable solution to the recycling needs of most Americans.

Best Buy is the largest collector of recyclable electronics and appliances in the U.S. They do this with their In-Home Advisors and Geek Squad Agents making rounds at customers’ homes every day. 

They have been able to create a lucrative enterprise while also keeping junks and waste off America’s streets. For example, at a typical Best Buy store, the electronics traffic travels a two-way street; customers leave the store with new purchases and bring back broken junks for recycling.

If you need a better understanding about waste recycling and how best to implement it, you can contact Reduction In Motion for free consultation.

Best Buy is one of the largest American consumer electronics retailers. In 2009, the company ventured into the collection and recycling of old electronics. Though initially seen as a costly gamble, the business is now a fast-growing enterprise making lots of money.

 It even has a reward program that offers customers something in return, if they turn in appliances that still have some value. At first, the recycling program was not only free to consumers. It required consumers to buy a $10 store card to be able to drop off recycling.

 This was how they covered operational costs at the beginning. However, the great part is that customers can drop off just about any junk that runs or used to run on electricity.

How Best Buy Turns Electronics Trash Into Cash

Today, Best Buy’s recycling programs have debunked the skepticism that trailed its starting, growing into a highly profitable venture. The program currently generates two streams of revenue. First, Best Buy generates revenues from its recycling partners. Truckloads of old TVs, PCs, and dryers usually go to its processing partners while selling plastics, gold, nickel lead, and other materials recovered from the dismantled waste. These, in turn, go into making new materials. While the prices for these items have generally been going up over the past few years, it raises the share that comes back to Best Buy.

According to Leo Raudys, the senior director of environmental sustainability at Best Buy, the company also generates revenue from its manufacturing partners. These are the big and popular electronics brands on the market. 

About 25 states in the U.S. require electronics manufacturers to recycle some share of what they sell every year. Collaborating with these companies had opened up a steady stream of revenue flow for Best Buy. 

Raudys claims that the company’s network delivers efficiencies that the electronics makers can’t match. To achieve this, they end up buying access to it.

Since 2009, Best Buy has helped electronic consumers recycle 2 billion pounds of electronics and appliances in America. 

Moreover, they are now making it easier than ever to get rid of old appliances. Also, the retail giant has improved its margins by lowering the costs of collecting and transporting consumer waste.

They achieved this through a gradual process that has spanned the years, especially by improving workflows and boosting volumes. According to Raudys, higher volumes of waste give Best Buy the chance to win more competitive rates from its recycling partners.

One thing that sets Best Buy apart is its take on corporate responsibility. Some customers actually prefer to deal with a company committed to keeping their streets free of garbage. Best Buy views its take-back program as an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to society.

Before you engage in any recycling program, you should make sure you are tracking your waste volumes. That way, once the program has been established, you can see the impact the program had on your overall recycling rate. We offer waste data tracking services that allow you to access your data and generate reports on demand. Give us a call if you need help getting your waste data tracking started (or if you want us to take over and save you some time). It enables you to keep track records of the waste you generate and how you can control it.

The Cost Of Recycling And E-Waste Handling

Since Best Buy began offering free recycling of gadgets to its customers, it has been luring more and more customers into the program. 

Disassembling an electronic device

While it’s still unclear how the program has benefited the company in terms of sales, it is obvious that profits streamed in from recycling. Interestingly, the company started the recycling program, not knowing exactly what they were getting into. And it could have been a costly failure if the running cost had stayed high. 

The program was estimated to cost between $5 million to $10 million in the first year.

The highest overhead costs were labor and storage space for processing the collected waste. Other costs include moving truck pallets to recycling sites and auditing the processes of its recycling partners. 

To match state and federal guidelines, Best Buy hires third-party inspectors to help enforce corporate recycling policy. That is another cost-intensive area of the business. Also, the company’s program includes a physical inspection of shipping containers. This is to prevent the exportation of hazardous materials to low-income countries.

Best Buy incorporated scrutiny into alleviating growing concerns over poor electronic waste handling procedures in the recycling industry. The Industry has been host to unhealthy practices by recyclers. Previously, e-waste was sent for dumping or processing in very primitive and dangerous methods.

 Experts say that at least half of the e-waste gathered in America for recycling is moved to Asia and Africa. There, they are dumped or processed in ways that pose serious health risks to workers.

Best Buy engages four trusted recycling companies for its recycling processes: In Fresno, California, it’s Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), Regency Technologies in Cleveland, Ohio, and E Structors in Baltimore, Maryland. For appliance recycling, Regency and Jaco Environmental in Snohomish, Washington, are the recycling partners. 

Of all Best Buy’s recycling partners, only ERI meets the e-Stewards certification. E-Stewards is a program co-developed by Basel Action Network (BAN), and other environmental and e-waste watchdog groups. The other partners satisfy the R2 code, another industry-backed standard. 

E-Stewards hold up and frown at processes that flout existing agreements and bar the export of hazardous e-waste to developing nations. It also forbids the use of municipal landfills or incineration methods for treating hazardous e-waste.

If you want to reduce the amount of e-waste you generate, here’s a guide for you. It explains the best and affordable strategy to reduce the amount of waste you produce. 

Best Buy’s Recycling Program Reveals An Industry-Wide Need

The take-back program initiated by Best Buy only serves to meet a portion of the recycling need for used electronics, both in the U.S. and globally. Although Best Buy runs nation-wide recycling, only 25 American states have e-waste rules. And there are several places in the country where there are no other alternatives besides Best Buy. In addition to the program’s growth, this suggests that there is a serious need for expansion and more players in the Industry.

Two people wearing PPE for waste recycling

As e-waste recycling efforts intensify nation-wide, the volume of recycling is also growing by the year. Best Buy currently has its recycling tentacles in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. In the U.S. alone, there’s been a significant increase in recycling drop off locations for electronic junks. We believe that there will be more because the need for more arises as electronic consumers grow in number. 

Recycling Trends

In 2011, eCycling Leadership Initiatives (ELI) participants arranged to recycle 460 million pounds of used electronics. The group also set a target of recycling one billion pounds of consumer electronics in 2016. ELI is a program created by the Consumer Technology Association, a conglomeration of major manufacturers and retailers of electronic products.

By 2017, The CTA announced that more than 4 billion pounds of consumer electronics had been recycled since 2010. We can see from the pattern a steady growth in consumption, followed by a rising need for increased recycling capacity. Best Buy was one of the companies to proffer solutions to this gaping demand. And for the record, they have counted tremendous gains for their efforts over the years.

Today, Best buy continues to collect and recycle electronics such as phones, TVs, laptops, tablets, and so on. Larger appliances such as refrigerators and TVs can be safely removed at a fee through Best Buy’s haul-away services. 

They also have trade-in options available at several of their stores, which offer customers a gift card for bringing in stuff with value. Best Buy uses In-Home Advisors and Geek Squad Agents for visiting customers` homes and collecting electronic junks.

Final Words

Everyone has probably got some old, useless, electronic devices like batteries, tablets, TV, etc. that are cluttering the space in their homes. Sometimes, we keep these items around for nostalgic reasons or otherwise. Occasionally, we hope that we can reuse these devices. 

Eventually, we have to let go of them, and when that time comes, there’s a proper way to get it done. Companies like Best Buy run effective, regulatory-complaint, and safe recycling programs. The primary intent is to avoid contaminating the environment with e-waste, which could otherwise be safely disposed of.

If you are worried that your facility generates too much waste, you should engage in waste management planning. It will help to reduce the amount of trash your company produces.

Since 2009, Best Buy has shown an increased commitment to this cause. While they carried on with the project as a way to fulfill corporate social responsibility, they have also plugged into a profitable market.