Apple today announced an expansion of its successful recycling program, offering free computer take-back and recycling with the purchase of a new Macintosh system beginning in June. 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 as part of the Apple Recycling program. Equipment received by the program in the US is recycled domestically and no hazardous material is shipped overseas. Earlier this week, Apple 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 in the press release. “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 will extend Apple’s existing US recycling program, which has recycled more than 90 percent of electronic equipment collected since 2001. Apple also operates a free drop-off recycling location at its headquarters in Cupertino for used computer systems and selected home electronics.

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.

In addition, 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. Information on Apple’s recycling programs and industry-leading environmental policies is available online at http://www.apple.com/environment

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