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Post Office Experiments with Free Electronics Recycling

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The US Postal Service has started piloting a program that will let people recycle small electronics and inkjet cartridges for free by mail.

The postage will be paid by Clover Technologies Group, a company that recycles, remanufactures and remarkets inkjet cartridges, laser cartridges and small electronics. If the electronic item or cartridges can’t be refurbished and resold, its component parts are reused to refurbish other items, or the parts are broken down further and the materials recycled.

Clover reportedly has a “zero waste to landfill” policy: it supposedly does everything it can to avoid contributing any materials to the nation’s landfills.

The USPS says it gave Clover the contract against 19 other companies.

The pilot is set for 10 areas across the country, including Washington, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego, but could become a national program this fall if the pilot program proves successful.

Folks can currently get free postage-paid envelopes at 1,500 post offices to mail back inkjet cartridges, PDAs, Blackberries, digital cameras, iPods and MP3 players. There are no limits.

The UPS has an arrangement with laser printer makers like HP that lets users send back their empty toner cartridges for free. Has had for years. A mailing label comes with the laser cartridges.

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