Interfaith Coalition Urges Walmart to “Take It Back”
June 6, 2012
Leon Kaye, TriplePundit.com
It is proxy season, which means all kinds of shareholder resolutions and protests are targeting some of America’s largest companies for a host of reasons. One company in the crosshairs is Walmart, the focus of organizations including the Texas Campaign for the Environment and Take It Back Walmart. Both organizations have published a letter to Walmart urging the discount retail giant to do more about e-waste.
As Leading Retailer Turns 50, Will It Take Lead on E-Waste?
June 4, 2012
Public News Service
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – It started in Texas a year ago: grassroots pressure on the nation’s leading retailer to recycle hazardous electronic waste (e-waste). The movement has since gone national, and last week it came full circle.
More than 100 faith leaders from all 50 states signed an “Open Letter to Walmart on Stewardship of Electronic Waste.” It was published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to coincide with a star-studded, early 50th-birthday celebration at Walmart’s annual shareholders’ meeting Friday in Arkansas. The letter urged Walmart to give consumers an easy way to drop off e-waste.
How Best Buy makes money recycling America’s electronics
April 24, 2012
By Adam Aston, GreenBiz.com
Retailing giant Best Buy has seen its recycling take-back program grow from a costly gamble into a fast-growing business that’s making a little bit of money. “It’s profitable. But just barely,” said Leo Raudys, senior director of environmental sustainability at Best Buy. “People still don’t believe it.”
The skepticism comes from the fact that the program is not only free to consumers, but they can also drop off just about any kind of junk that runs or ran on electricity. A dead tube TV? Check. The cell phone you dunked? Of course. That leaky washing machine? Yep. Best Buy takes appliances, too.
Report shows increase in demand for products made to decrease environmental impact
April 22, 2012
By Karina Ramirez, Denton Record-Chronicle
…TCE’s latest target is Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The “Take it Back Walmart” campaign began in the fall of 2011.
“Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, and 13 percent of its sales come from entertainment products such as TVs, computers, monitors and iPads,” Schneider said. “Recycling for this century is for the producer of the product to do the recycling, to keep stuff out of the landfills and to redesign the product so that it can be easily recyclable.”
Wearing the Earth Day E-Gear Green
April 19, 2012
By Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Inquirer Online
Walmart’s newly released 2012 Global Responsibility Reports touts waste reduction as its #1 achievment in 2011. But the Texas Campaign for the Environment says the retail giant is doing zilch to collect used electronics at its stores, unlike prime CE competitor Best Buy. The latter started a pilot recycling program in 2008 and now takes back stuff at stores nationwide. (Staples locations also proved prominent in my search at greenergadets.org. ) For Earth Day, Texas Campaign executive director Robin Schneider urges concerned citizens to post a message on Walmart’s “What’s on Your Mind” Facebook page “calling on the company to take back e-waste for recycling….. and to support federal legislation to stop e-waste from being dumped on developing countries.”
Singing zombies ask Walmart to take back e-waste
Waste & Recycling News
November 7, 2011
Singing zombies took over Walmart stores throughout the country on Halloween, asking the retail giant to begin a take back program for old TVs and computers. Video from several of the events tops this week´s episode of Waste & Recycling News´ “Curbside Live.”
Editor John Campanelli hosts the episode, which also features a story of a company in Detroit taking old beer, soda and energy drinks and turning it into ethanol. The show also features a story of old PET bottles being turned into floating islands in Louisiana.
A new episode premieres each Monday.
The episode can also be seen on WRN’s YouTube page.
‘Ghostbusters’ & zombies part of effort to urge Walmart to recycle electronics
By Julie Baker on AnnArbor.com
November 2, 2011
Activists dressed as Ghostbusters corralled others dressed as Zombie TVs on Saturday at the Ypsilanti Townshpi Walmart to urge the store to recycle electronics as part of a National Day of Walmart Actions, according to a news release.
Advocates of electronics recycling from the website takeitbackwalmart.com called on Walmart to take back the electronics it sells, saying competitors such as Best Buy, Apple and Samsung offer recycling programs. The advocates held events at Walmart stores in Michigan, Texas, Ohio, New York and Connecticut.
“While Walmart challenges its competitors to match their prices, we are pressing Walmart to match Best Buy’s electronics recycling program and support for federal legislation to stop electronics from being dumped in developing countries,” Emily Woodcock, a Ypsilanti resident, said in a statement supporting the efforts of takeitbackwalmart.com, a website promoting greener electronic practices at Walmart.
More than 15,000 letters in support of the recycling effort have been sent to Walmart headquarters and store managers since June, the release said.
“Flash Action” in Ohio Encourages Walmart to Take Up E-Recycling
October 31, 2011
by Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service – OH
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Some Ohio shoppers were taken by surprise this weekend by a “flash action” taking aim at Walmart’s recycling policies. A group of activists unexpectedly broke out into a song-and-dance routine inside the electronics section of the Walmart at Cleveland’s Steelyard Commons shopping center.
Lynn Rooks, field manager for Ohio Citizen Action, says they are calling on the company to provide convenient take-back and recycling options for obsolete electronics.
“Best Buy already has a take-back program, which is fantastic, but Walmart is a global leader and they sell all these electronics, and it should be as easy to take back and drop off your old item for recycling as it is to buy a new one.”
Rooks says electronic waste is the fastest-growing waste stream, and Walmart could make a big difference in keeping heavy metals out of landfills by providing recycling opportunities nationwide. The flash action also urged the company to support federal legislation to stop electronics from being dumped in developing countries.
According to its website, Walmart has a recycling program for items from only one manufacturer, Samsung.
Rooks says the flash actions are non-confrontational and focused on educating the public and Walmart on the issue.
“The actions themselves are a surprise; that’s the whole point of them. They’ve received tens of thousands of letters from us already on this issue, but we’re working to get their attention on a larger scale, because this really is about global responsibility.”
Rooks says this ‘e-cycling’ is an important issue for all Ohioans, as the state has recently been ranked number one in the country for toxic air pollution.
“These electronics are full of things like lead and mercury, and we certainly don’t need to be adding onto the heap of what the coal industry is already doing here in the state. We’re already number one in a bad way, so this is definitely going to be one way to curtail that.”
Other similar flash actions were held this weekend at Walmarts in Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey New York and Texas.
Early Trick-Or-Treaters Trick Texas Walmarts
October 31, 2011
by Peter Malof, Public News Service – TX
HOUSTON – Walmart stores in Houston, Dallas and Austin, as well as in six other states, got some early trick-or-treaters this weekend. Instead of asking for candy, though, these environmental activists wanted Walmart to recycle electronic waste.
Decked out as zombie TV sets and other high-tech ghouls, Austin’s “flash mob” serenaded shoppers and employees with their rendition of “Monster Mash.” In Houston, they revamped lyrics of “The Adams Family” theme song. A flash-mob member explains, “What we’re saying is if you don’t recycle us, we’re going to spew our toxins all over you as we’re coming back from the dead to haunt you.”
Stacy Guidry is Austin program director with Texas Campaign for the Environment, which has launched a nationwide campaign aimed at Walmart. The company sold nearly $53 billion worth of entertainment products last year, she says.
“We want Walmart to step up to plate, as the largest seller of electronics, to mirror the policies of Best Buy in taking back old electronics so they can be properly recycled, through our state law.”
Texas law requires computer manufacturers to provide free recycling for customers. A similar law covering TVs takes effect next July.
Guidry says the laws are helpful, but major retailers could voluntarily offer much more convenient options. So far, only Best Buy has done so. If Walmart followed suit, Guidry says that would more than double available drop-off locations.
Walmart’s website says the company is striving to become a “zero-waste” business, but it’s a step-by-step process.
A recent letter-writing campaign has already collected nearly 25,000 online signatures, according to Guidry. But she says the campaign goes beyond pressuring Walmart. Flash mobs and other public demonstrations, she explains, educate consumers about the importance of keeping electronics out of the waste stream.
“People don’t understand that whenever they put something on the curb, they’re essentially poisoning themselves. Electronics contain toxics like lead and mercury. When this stuff hits landfills, it’s crushed and those toxins start to leak out and get into the water supply.”
Much of the waste winds up in developing countries that lack strong environmental, labor and health laws, she says, and these exports also cost U.S. jobs in the recycling industry. Federal legislation – HR 2284 and S. 1270 – has been introduced that would stop the export of e-waste to such countries.
The online letter campaign is at http://takeitbackwalmart.com.
Walmart Stores in NY & Nationwide Hit by Song-and-Dance Demos
Public News Service-NY
October 31, 2011
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A song-and-dance routine broke out unexpectedly at a Walmart store in Syracuse this weekend. It was a “flash action” by protestors calling for the retail chain to accept and recycle used electronics that they sell. The small group of young environmental activists suddenly began singing and dancing in the aisles of the Walmart on Bridge Street, urging the store – and the chain – to recycle TVs and other electronic items sold there.
The Best Buy chain has a nationwide voluntary take-back program. And protest organizer Stacy Guidry thinks Walmart should, too.
“They just last year sold $53 billion worth of electronics. These electronics are highly toxic, with plenty of toxic chemicals like lead and mercury.”
The protestors, mirrored by groups at other Walmart stores around the country, say if Walmart – the world’s largest retailer – would embrace the concept, it could shift the global market toward responsible recycling of electronic waste. According to its website, Walmart has a recycling program for items from only one manufacturer, Samsung.
The participants in the “flash action” in Syracuse sang to the tune of an 80s hit, “Blister in the Sun,” by the Violent Femmes.
“Recycle TVs, like Best Buy already does. Recycle TVs – Walmart, you know you’re the one.”
Guidry says the flash actions are non-confrontational and aimed at educating store staff and management as well as customers.
“The shoppers really get a big kick out of this. It’s a surprise for everybody whenever we come in and we do a three-minute song-and-dance and during those three minutes we hand out comprehensive flyers.”
The weekend saw seven other flash actions at Walmart stores in Texas, Ohio, Michigan and Connecticut.
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“A five minute flash mob routine by Texas environmentalists at two Wal-Mart stores in Western Kentucky got the attention of customers in the electronics aisles over the weekend. About 80 singing and guitar strumming protestors with the Texas Campaign for the Environment pitched a few notes urging Wal-Mart to match it when it comes to Best Buy’s electronic waste recycling program.”