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Office Depot Launches Free Cell Phone and Rechargeable Battery Recycling Program

Office Depot Launches Free Cell Phone and Rechargeable Battery Recycling Program

Published 12-21-04

Submitted by Office Depot, Inc.

DELRAY BEACH, FL - Buying or receiving a new cell phone this holiday season, but not sure of what to do with your old one? Recycle it-and do something good for the environment!

Office Depot, (NYSE: ODP), now offers consumers a convenient and cost-free method for recycling old cell phones and rechargeable batteries.

Partnering with the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a nonprofit, public service organization dedicated to recycling rechargeable batteries and cell phones, Office Depot is now collecting used phones and rechargeable batteries for recycling at all 960 Office Depot locations in the U.S. and Canada.

"Office Depot sells Sprint, Nextel and T-Mobile wireless products and services, as well as a large variety of other electronics and business machines that use rechargeable batteries," said Tyler Elm, Director of Environmental Affairs for Office Depot. "The holiday season is the perfect time to introduce our free, in-store cell phone and rechargeable battery recycling program as many consumers are looking to upgrade to the latest technologies. We urge consumers to make the smart choice by bringing their old cell phones and rechargeable batteries to Office Depot for free recycling and safe disposal during this purchase process."

Office Depot will collect (free of charge) all old cell phones and used rechargeable batteries for recycling, including Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), and Small Sealed Lead (Pb) weighing less than 2 lbs/1 kg. These batteries are also commonly found in other portable office electronics products including cordless phones, laptop computers, PDAs, digital cameras, and portable printers.

While rechargeable batteries reduce waste by being reused again and again - replacing between 50 to 300 single-use disposal batteries - they contain potentially harmful chemicals and should be safely disposed of at your local Office Depot store instead of in normal household trash.

"We are pleased that Office Depot has decided to integrate RBRC's battery and cell phone recycling program into its stores," said Ralph Millard, Executive Vice President, RBRC. "It's partnerships like these that have greatly increased our efforts to recycle as many rechargeable batteries and cell phones as possible nationwide."

All rechargeable batteries collected in partnership with RBRC are recycled in a state-of-the art metals reclamation facility in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, with no by-products being sent to a landfill. Nickel and iron recovered from batteries are used in the production of stainless steel; cadmium is purified and used in Ni-Cd rechargeable batteries. Cell phones are refurbished, recycled or resold when possible. A portion of the proceeds received from the resale benefits select charities, such as Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Cell Phone and Battery Facts
According to research and industry studies:

  • By 2005, roughly 200 million cell phones will be in use in the U.S., and approximately 130 million phones will be retired each year.*
  • A total of 500 million used cell phones weighing more than 250,000 tons are estimated to be currently stockpiled, awaiting disposal.*
  • Cell phones contain hazardous substances, which can pollute the air when burned in incinerators and leach into soil and drinking water when buried in landfills.*
  • The average American cell phone user has a total of three or more cell phones in their possession.**
  • More than 56% of the American population still stores their old cell phones and over 70% are not aware that cell phones can be recycled.**
  • 95% of Americans own at least one type of cordless product powered by rechargeable batteries. Americans use an average of five cordless products in their daily lives.***
  • Since 1996, more than 25 million pounds of rechargeable batteries have been collected by RBRC and diverted from entering the solid waste stream. That's equivalent to the weight of approximately 1,260 yellow school buses. ***

    * Conducted by environmental nonprofit INFORM, Inc.
    ** Conducted by market research firm NOP World
    *** RBRC

    "With such a high level of product turnover, we think our customers will appreciate Office Depot's convenient, long-term solution for recycling old cell phones and rechargeable batteries," Elm said. "We are happy to have a partner like RBRC to make this environmental service a reality."

    Office Depot Electronics Recycling
    Office Depot's cell phone and battery recycling program is one of the many initiatives the retailer has undertaken to promote environmental stewardship. In July 2004, Office Depot launched the first free nationwide electronics recycling drive. The seven-week program at all of Office Depot's U.S. locations, collected more than 10.5 million pounds unwanted consumer electronics - more than 450 tractor trailer loads - for recycling.

    This was the largest single electronics recycling event in U.S. history with Office Depot collecting nearly 5,000 cell phones and more than 320,000 other consumer electronics during the drive, many of which used a rechargeable power source.

    Other environmental initiatives by Office Depot, including the Industry's first independently audited Environmental Stewardship Report, can be viewed at

    Editor's Note: Consumers or businesses may contact Office Depot regarding more information or to pass along suggestions via email at The news media contact for RBRC is Theresa Hall, Manager of Communications, 678-419-9990,

    About Office Depot
    Office Depot's environmental initiatives center on three guiding principles: Recycling and Pollution Reduction; Sustainable Forest Management; and Issue Awareness and Market Development for environmentally preferable products. Office Depot was honored with the United States Chamber of Commerce's Corporate Stewardship Award for Large Companies in 2004, which recognizes businesses and chambers that have demonstrated ethical leadership and corporate stewardship. Office Depot is already the largest reseller of recycled paper and recycled content products. In addition to the company's industry-leading 35% post consumer waste content paper, Office Depot offers thousands of different products containing recycled content and added new products including 100% post consumer waste content papers during 2003.

    With annual sales of more than $12 billion, no one sells more office supplies to more customers in more countries than Office Depot. Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Delray Beach, Fla., the company conducts business in 23 countries and employs nearly 50,000 people worldwide.
    Office Depot is a leader in every distribution channel - from retail stores and contract delivery to catalogs and e-commerce. The company is the world's number three online retailer - on track to generate $3B in sales for FY'04. In North America, Office Depot has 923 retail stores in addition to a national business-to-business delivery network supported by 22 delivery centers, more than 60 local sales offices and 13 regional call centers.

    The company's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP and is included in the S&P 500 Index. Additional press information can be found at:

    About RBRC
    The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) is a nonprofit, public service organization dedicated to rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling. There are over 30,000 retail and community collection locations that participate in RBRC's cell phone and rechargeable battery recycling program throughout the U.S.* and Canada. (*48 contiguous states). RBRC is funded by more than 300 manufacturers and marketers of portable rechargeable batteries and products. RBRC's public education campaign and recycling program is the result of the rechargeable power industry's commitment to conserve natural resources and prevent cell phones and rechargeable batteries from entering the solid waste stream. Cell phones collected through the Call2Recycle(TM) program will be recycled or refurbished and resold when possible with a portion of the proceeds benefiting select charities. Contributions or gifts to RBRC are not tax deductible. For more information, call 1-877-2-RECYCLE or visit

  • Office Depot, Inc. logo

    Office Depot, Inc.

    Office Depot, Inc.

    Office Depot provides more office products and services to more customers in more countries than any other company. Incorporated in 1986 and headquartered in Delray Beach, Fla., Office Depot has annual sales of nearly $15 billion, and employs approximately 50,000 associates around the world. Currently, the Company sells to customers directly or through affiliates in 42 countries. Office Depot is a leader in every distribution channel -- from retail stores and contract delivery to catalogs and e-commerce. Office Depot serves a wide range of customers through a dedicated sales force, telephone account managers, direct mail offerings, and multiple web sites.

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