Staples Embraces Self-Destruction

In an interesting twist today, one electronics retailer is making a move to help the environment while another is preparing to help destroy it.

Best Buy announced plans to launch a trial free electronics recycling program in 117 of its stores. That’s the environmentally-friendly decision. The trial will take place in Baltimore, San Francisco, and Minnesota.

On the other end of the spectrum, Staples has opted to start selling self-destructing DVDs in its retail locations. Yup, those same ones that made headlines several years ago — and then, well, self-destructed themselves out of our lives.

But now they’re back, and boy are they better than ever. The discs, manufactured by Flexplay, turn unreadable 48 hours after you open the package. The idea is that you can buy a relatively new movie, open it whenever you’re ready, and then never have to return it — all for the low price of $4.99. You just toss it in the trash when you’re done and move on with your life.

I absolutely love the juxtaposition of these two stories today. I happened to be writing an article about the importance of electronics recycling for another site this morning and will use the opportunity to share with you some fun facts that Staples forgot to mention in its news releases:

  • Americans throw out more than 2 million tons of electronic waste a year.
  • Less than a quarter of that waste is recycled.
  • Most of it ends up in landfills, either here or in other countries. These landfills, of course, are already overfilled.

Good stuff. Well, at least there’s no better service available — you know, something like a company that’ll mail you unlimited movies with no due dates that you can just drop into your mailbox to return.

So Staples, I congratulate you. For all the reasons mentioned above, you are the first recipient of our prestigious and highly disregarded award, the TechCult Sarcastic Salute. Kudos, my comrades, on a job poorly done. We’ll send a commemorative plaque your way if we remember. It will, however, self-destruct after 48 hours.