Is Best Buy’s home pickup recycling service worth the price?
Best Buy recently became the first national retailer to offer a service that picks up old tech from customers’ homes to be recycled. The price of the service, at $199, however, may come with some sticker shock.
To be fair, items hauled away under the Best Buy Standalone Haul-Away service include major appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators that a household would likely pay someone to take off their hands.
For $199 (20 percent off for Best Buy Totaltech members), Best Buy’s Standalone Haul-Away service removes and recycles up to two large products (including TVs, major appliances, all-in-one computers and monitors), along with select smaller products, like laptops, cameras, cords and gaming consoles.
The bigger value to the program may be Best Buy’s guarantee that items will be “responsibly and safely recycled,” avoiding landfills and potentially giving the item a second life.
A United Nations study reported that 53.6 million tons of e-waste was discarded in 2019, and only 17.4 percent of it was disposed of properly. Electronics can contain toxic substances such as lead, mercury and cadmium that can harm the environment if it winds up in a landfill. Some items also need to be wiped of personal data.
“We feel we have an important role to play in helping our planet, including being there for the entire lifecycle of a product — from the time a customer starts shopping until that product is responsibly recycled,” said Tim Dunn, Best Buy’s head of environmental sustainability, in a statement. “This new service will make this important work even more convenient for customers.”
At the store level, Best Buy accepts a number of smaller electronics for recycling for free and charges $39.99 to accept many larger ones, including TVs and monitors. It charges $39.99 to haul away major appliances from homes when a replacement product is delivered. A trade-in program offers gift cards for items that still have value.
Best Buy said it is the nation’s largest retail collector of e-waste, having helped customers recycle two billion pounds of electronics since it started its recycling program in 2009. Only a few other retailers, including Apple, Staples and Amazon, offer e-waste recycling.
- Best Buy Launches Home Pick-Up Recycling Service – Best Buy/Business Wire
- Products we recycle for free* – Best Buy
- The Global E-waste Monitor 2020: Quantities, flows and the circular economy potential – United Nations
- Best Buy will haul away your old TV and more for $199 – The Verge
- Got e-waste in your closet? Best Buy has a service for that – Greenbiz
- How to Recycle Old Electronics – Consumer Reports
- Get even more with Apple Trade In. – Apple
- Give Your Old Devices New Life – Amazon.com
- Recycling Services – Staples
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Best Buy’s Standalone Haul-Away service, at $199, hold enough appeal to consumers? Should retailers or manufacturers be playing a larger role in reducing e-waste?