eBay Rethinks e-Waste

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Online auction site eBay on Thursday announced a program to inform consumers about the environmental dangers and proper handling of computer hardware.

Announced at CES in Las Vegas, the Rethink Initiative is a computer recycling effort that looks to educate visitors to eBay's heavily viewed site about the importance of keeping retired, broken or discarded PC components out of landfills, said Meg Whitman, president and CEO of eBay, San Jose, Calif.

Whitman said eBay is dedicating a page of its Web site to the Rethink Initiative. There, visitors will find information on the dangers of releasing the toxins and heavy metals used in PC components into the environment. Information on PC disposal methods such as trade-in programs, donations to charity and local recycling centers will also be available on the Rethink page, said Whitman.

Along with eBay, participants in the Rethink Initiative include Intel, Apple Computer, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Ingram Micro, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the non-profit Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service.

"The Rethink Initiative will educate consumers on how to properly dispose of or recycle the millions of tons of e-waste they confront each year. We're extremely excited about the positive role eBay's user community will play in confronting this environmental dilemma," said Whitman.

The Rethink Initiative is designed to assist U.S. consumers and businesses, but may expand abroad if successful, said Whitman.

"We wanted to start in the U.S. to see if we can gain momentum for the program," she said.

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