A green biz guide to recycling electronics – Origin Design does “Mission Zero”

2 03 2008


Photos by Chris Jordan | “Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption”

Design Goes Green – The first of a series of articles by Green Printer on the cross-section between the environment, business and the creative communications industry.

According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, used or unwanted electronics amounted to 1.9 to 2.2 million tons in 2005, with most of that ending up in landfills. We did a post earlier on the how the chemicals that seep into the soil, even decades later, can have harmful human health effects and the fact that heaps of the stuff are often left abandoned in developing countries.

To date, here are some figures on just the all-mighty cell phone:

  • It is estimated that upwards of 130 million cell phones are no longer being used, many just stored away.
  • If Americans recycled 100 million phones, the U.S. could save enough upstream energy to power more than 194,000 households for a year.
  • Recycling just one million cell phones reduces greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking 1,368 cars off the road for a year, according to the EPA.


Photos | Chris Jordan, Cellphones

Now, consumers are more aware and motivated than ever to find ways to recycle their electronics and companies like Green Citizen are jumping on the opportunity to provide just that.

The lesser known “Mission Zero” campaign by Bureau En Gros (Staples) in Quebec, brought to our attention by Origin Design + Communications, who was hired by Bureau En Gros to develop the communications, in-store visuals and all advertising, invited consumers to give a second life to their electronic equipment and to drop off their old electronic equipment at any of the participating Bureau en Gros locations in the province.

The service, the first to offer such a service in Quebec, was offered at 59 of the province’s 65 retail stores last fall. The returned objects, including laptops, cell phones, cameras and fax machines, could be recycled or refurbished and re-used in Quebec schools.

Most recently, the Quebec Liberal government is considering new laws to force computer manufacturers to recycle their electronic materials.

To give an idea of how far we have progressed since the original advocates pressed for electronic recycling programs, Wal-Mart is calling for more uniform U.S. guidelines regarding consumer electronics, energy consumption and recycling.

A Short, Green(er) Guide to Recycling and Using Electronics

New to how you can use your electronics in a more eco-friendly way? Government agencies and large institutions can check out the Federal Electronics Challenge to learn how to donate or recycle its used electronics.

Smaller businesses can look up ecyclingtools.com for information on the entire life cycle of electronics and tips to help address e-waste concerns.


Thinking of reducing e-waste on your own? Check out mygreenelectronics.org for local opportunities to recycle or donate used electronics and techsoup.org to acquire recycled hardware.

For more information on Origin Design + Communication’s wicked portfolio (based out of Whistler and Montreal, Canada), go to http://www.origindesign.ca.




2 responses to “A green biz guide to recycling electronics – Origin Design does “Mission Zero””

1 08 2008
Peter (14:46:39) :

Be sure to check out the National Geographic’s Greendex for a valuable educational tool about global consumer habits.

29 07 2009
Mike (10:59:42) :

It’s staggering how much waste we create from electronics. It’s great to see some attention being paid to greening the electronics industry. I imagine there’s a long way to go. Thanks for the article. Mike

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