From The Story of Stuff Project and the Electronics TakeBack Coalition
Inspired by The Story of Electronics, hundreds of people sent letters to Lenovo President and CEO Rory Read yesterday, telling the company to green its products and “Make ‘em Safe, Make ’em Last, and Take ’em Back.” Within hours, Read got back in touch to say he “could not agree with [us] more.”
We’re excited that Lenovo wants to do better, but with their weak track record on responsible recycling and failure to follow through on a commitment to get PVC and brominated flame retardants out of their products, we’re not ready to take them at their word just yet.
Lenovo—the world’s fourth largest personal computer maker—got a D minus on the Electronics TakeBack Coalition’s Recycling Report Card. They have a takeback program on paper, but in reality they’re not making the effort to take back their products unless state laws force them to. In most states, Lenovo simply offers a dysfunctional mailback program, and, let’s face it, almost nobody’s mailing back their electronics for recycling. In Texas, for example, they collected a paltry 458 lbs of e-waste in 2009. (By comparison, Dell collected 13 million lbs in Texas). We know Lenovo can do better.
In his letter, the Lenovo CEO said that his company is getting ready to release a new sustainability report that demonstrates their commitment to making clean, green, long-lasting products. If Read really agrees with us, this report should include Lenovo’s commitment to:
- Work only with recyclers who are certified to the rigorous e-Stewards recycling standard;
- Make a real effort to get back their products in the U.S., by offering convenient, well publicized collection sites in all states;
- Provide full transparency on their recycling vendors, detailed vendor requirements, and volumes collected by state;
- Support federal legislation to stop global e-waste dumping from the U.S.; and
- Design out the toxics and design in closed loop recycling, so products collected can be recycled into new Lenovo products.
So, go ahead and show us what you’re made of, Lenovo! Prove that you’re truly committed to going green.