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Friday, April 21, 2006, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Apple to offer free computer take-back program

Beginning in June, Apple Computer will extend its recycling program to offer new Mac buyers free recycling of their old computer equipment, the company said on Friday.

US customers who buy a new Mac through the Apple Store or Apple’s retail stores will receive free shipping and environmentally friendly disposal of their old computer.

Equipment received by the program in the US will be recycled domestically and no hazardous material will shipped overseas, Apple said.

Earlier this week, the Mac and iPod maker was named a “Forward Green Leader,” one of the top ten environmentally progressive companies recognized by the Sierra Club and its investment advisor, Forward Management.

“Apple is committed to supporting our customers and protecting the environment throughout the entire product life cycle, from purchase through to retirement,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Now we are making it even easier for Apple’s customers to safely and affordably recycle their used computers and iPods.”

Apple's free take-back program is an extension of its existing US recycling program, which has recycled more than 90 percent of electronic equipment collected since 2001. The company also operates a free drop-off recycling location at its headquarters in Cupertino for used computer systems and selected home electronics.

Along with its recycling program extension, Apple also announced that the fifth generation iPod, iPod nano and iPod shuffle are 100 percent compliant with the upcoming restrictions of hazardous substances (RoHS) in California and Europe, which are recognized as the new global standard for environmental regulation.

iPod’s RoHS compliance comes months ahead of the July 1 deadline set by the European Union, and most of the materials covered by the RoHS directive, including mercury, cadmium, chromium VI and brominated flame retardants, were voluntarily eliminated from all Apple products years ago.

Additionally, Apple said its iPod power adapters now exceed Energy Star efficiency requirements and already meet California’s stricter appliance efficiency regulations, which are scheduled to take effect July 1, 2008.