Good News: Home Depot will offer CFL Recycling

Thanks to a reader for sending in this very good news: Home Depot announced on Tuesday that they will start accepting CFL bulbs for recycling. Any instance of producers and retailers taking responsibility for the end-of-life disposal of the products they make and sell can only be a good sign; this will ultimately drive the trend toward creating products made from materials that do less harm and are either recyclable or biodegradable. It’s the same idea of Extended Producer Responsibility that we talked about regarding e-waste recycling legislation in New York City a few months back. This is the way design and manufacturing has got to go! Just ask the Cradle to Cradle guys.

Here’s a snippet from Home Depot’s press release:

ATLANTA, June 24, 2008 – The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, today expanded its long-term commitment to the environment and sustainability by launching a national in-store, consumer compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb recycling program at all 1,973 The Home Depot locations. This free service is the first such offering made so widely available by a retailer in the United States and offers customers additional options for making environmentally conscious decisions from purchase to disposal. The Home Depot Canada launched a CFL recycling program in November, 2007.

At each The Home Depot store, customers can simply bring in any expired, unbroken CFL bulbs, and give them to the store associate behind the returns desk. The bulbs will then be managed responsibly by an environmental management company who will coordinate CFL packaging, transportation and recycling to maximize safety and ensure environmental compliance.

The press release goes on to tout Home Depot’s energy conservation programs, Eco Options product labeling, etc. I know that the cynics among us will question Home Depot’s motives for doing the right thing, but personally I am not so concerned about WHY they do it as long as they do. Let the Big Box stores be the first to take responsibility for All That Stuff they sell to us. (And if you’re really concerned/cynical put your money where your mouth is: don’t buy all that stuff!) When producers and retailers bear the burden that these products create after their useful life, a lot of things will change.

More perspectives on this announcement:
NY Times
Boston Globe

More on CFLs and recycling:

More places to recycle various objects (see links for details):
Staples: computers and peripherals, printers, other office electronics, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, printer cartridges
Best Buy: appliances, computers, televisions, cell phones, a/v equipment, batteries, printer cartridges
Whole Foods
: glass and plastic bottles, plastic bags, batteries

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