SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. -- Just when you thought technology was making "snail mail" obsolete, the U.S. Postal Service announces a vital new service that lets you recycle cell phones, iPods and other electronics -- as well as printer inkjet cartridges -- via mail. For free!
To use the "Mail Back" program, find one of the 1,500 post offices that offers special free envelopes. Drop in your recyclable electronics item, and mail it without postage. It goes to Clover Technologies Group, which recycles, remanufactures and remarkets inkjet cartridges, laser cartridges and small electronics.
Best of all, for those of us who live on the road, you can take as many "Mail Back" envelopes as you please, and use them to mail your electronics from anywhere. It's a great idea to tuck one into your carry-on laptop bag. When something dies on the road, you can drop it in the envelope and give it to your hotel's front desk to mail -- no need to carry the extra weight home.
Currently the program is a trial, and is focused on ten cities, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego. If successful, it will go nationwide in the fall, according to the Postal Service.