Government-Mandated Recycling? Stop!

A word to any government officials who might stumble across this little corner of the Web: Want to do something good for the environment? Stop mandated electronics recycling.

This is an area where the free market is actually working, you see. Dell, H-P and other PC makers for some time have had increasingly extensive recycling programs in place. And many regional and national retail chains are stepping up to the plate as well. Office Max, Staples and others take back all sorts of goods ranging from printer cartridges to monitors. And this week Best Buy announced its plan to expand its takeback program to just about everything from TVs to computers to DVD players.

And while Best Buy and others often require the purchase of a new refrigerator or freezer in exchange for hauling away an old or obsolete appliance, I have a solution for that, too: Sit the device at the curb just after the trash truck drives by. It won’t sit there for more than a few hours before * poof * it’s gone.

This even works for that old enamel fridge you’ve had in your garage all these years. Drag it out there, and put a sign on it saying “works/free.” If it’s still there after a few days, replace the sign with one that says “$20/works.”

Someone will steal it, guaranteed.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow