Jan 11 - Best Buy 'Future-Proof' Program is (Toxic) Wasteful

Best Buy just introduced a "Future-Proof" Buy Back Program that allows participants to trade in their old gear purchased at Best Buy, and apply the store credit toward new electronics. At first glance, this seems like a harmless and even smart idea. However, this program will only encourage consumers to discard their working products, and increase the amount of e-waste generated in the U.S.

Modern electronics have a short lifecycle - not because of malfunction - but because newer and flashier models are constantly being introduced. Electronics' obsolescence is unsustainable and one of the biggest driver of e-waste. E-waste contains a variety of toxic substances, including lead, mercury, cadmium, PVC, flame retardants, etc. When e-waste is improperly disposed of, these toxins can be released into the atmosphere or seep in through the land and have negative health and environmental effects. These products are not easy to recycle either.

Best Buy's new program will only incentivize consumers to trade in their working electronics for the latest gadget, and increase the turnover rate even more quickly. Consumers must pay an extra $70 to join the Buy Back Program. Products (laptops, netbooks, tablets, post-paid mobile phones and TVs) can be returned anytime within two years, provided the device is in good working condition and has all its original parts. A Television can last from 14-25 years, yet this program is encouraging consumers to buy a new one every 2-4 years.

Here is the detail of their program:

  • Redeem your Buy Back within 6 months from purchase effective date, and get up to 50% of your purchase price
  • Redeem your Buy Back after 6 months to 12 months from purchase effective date, and get up to 40 %
  • Redeem your Buy Back after 12 months to 18 months from purchase effective date and get up to 30 %
  • Redeem your Buy Back after 18 months to 24 from purchase effective date and get up to 20%

Instead of using this program, there are alternatives such as delaying getting a new product, refurbishing or perform software updates on the product, or selling the device. If the product is no longer functional, check out where to recycle your product.