Amazon.com is the second largest online U.S. retailer of consumer electronics with revenue of $61 billion in 2012, yet offers no comprehensive electronic waste take-back options for the vast majority of electronics it sells.
In 2013, As You Sow filed a shareholder proposal asking Amazon to explore ways it can provide its customers with take-back of used electronics.
We withdrew the proposal in exchange for a series of in-person meetings with company management to discuss the feasibility of crafting a policy on used electronics recycling. One of the meetings will include representatives from NGOs to educate the company about a range of related issues including commitments made by brands and other retailers, U.S. state laws and international laws, and the nuances of e-waste certification programs.
The Amazon.com website says “we're constantly looking for ways to further reduce our environmental impact,” yet there’s no option for consumers who have end-of-life materials to safely and conveniently recycle them through Amazon.com.
The company does offer a poorly promoted recycling service for its Kindle product, but not for the myriad other kinds of electronics it sells online.
By contrast, Dell Inc. provides shipping labels and offers free recycling for all products it sells. Customers may also drop off computer equipment in any condition at more than 2,000 participating Goodwill store locations. Electronics retailer Best Buy takes back a wide variety of electronics for free and Staples and Office Depot also offer take back. Best Buy has collected and recycled 180 million pounds of electronics in the last three years.
Read more about our engagements with Amazon below.