Japan’s Fujitsu Ltd. will launch PC-recycling operations in the 15 European Union nations from April 2003, becoming the first Japanese computer maker to build a recycling network covering the entire E.U. area.
The move aims to satisfy a directive adopted by the European Parliament making it mandatory possibly from 2005 for manufacturers of home appliances and electronic devices to recycle old products.
Fujitsu will begin studying how machines are being disposed of in the E.U. and then work out the details of its recycling plans, including how to handle transportation.
In Japan, Fujitsu charges about Y1,000 to collect a desktop computer, excluding transportation costs. The charge will be lower in Europe, as the recycling infrastructure is better there, the sources said.
The computer makers still don’t see the huge markets in the rest of the world — use the old PCs as Thin Clients for desktops in the emerging markets of the world. Sell the PCs for USD 100 or less retail. No Disk, No CD — just the motherboard, network card, monitor, keyboard and mouse.
There is little doubt that PC demand is flagging — Intel isn’t projecting great results going ahead. The PC makers need to open up the markets at the bottom of the pyramid. Problem is their newer PCs cannot be absorbed by this segment because it is at least 5-7x more expensive. The Thin Clients will create the need for additional In infrastructure in the coming years.
It may seem a non-intuitive solution, but the PC companies need to be understand that (a) the markets they are currently selling into are primarily upgrade opportunities, not new customers, and (b) the power on the desktop has far surpassed what most people need — in terms of both hardware and software.
It is now time to look at the real bottom, the non-users and get them to start adopting technology. As we do this, it will also take care of the recycling problem.