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eBay Launches PC Recycling And Reuse Initiative

eBay has launched a major recycling effort to keep discarded PCs and the hazardous materials used in their manufacture — including lead, cadmium, chromium and mercury — out of landfills, where they can leach into the environment.

The initiative, dubbed Rethink, coordinates the reuse and recycling activities of industry leaders like Apple, Gateway, HP, IBM, Ingram Micro and Intel with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and millions of eBay users.

The centerpiece of the program is a Web site,, that helps consumers and businesses learn about various disposition alternatives for unused or obsolete computers. These include trade-in programs, charity donations, local recycling programs, and assisted selling on eBay with convenient drop-off options.

Charitable alternatives include the National Cristina Foundation, a national, non-profit organization that provides donations of used computer equipment to schools, charities and public agencies which train disabled or economically disadvantaged people.

“eBay’s millions of users can be a powerful force for good,” said Meg Whitman, eBay’s president/CEO. “The Rethink Initiative will educate consumers on how to properly dispose of or recycle the millions of tons of e-waste they confront each year.” Indeed, industry analyst Gartner estimates that some 133,000 PCs are retired each day in the United States alone.

Whitman announced the program last month during International CES in Las Vegas, where she was joined by Intel’s CEO Craig Barrett.