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“Green” Texas Flash Mob Hits West KY Wal-Marts on E-Waste Recycling

October 3, 2011

PADUCAH, Ky. - A five-minute flash-mob routine by Texas environmentalists at two Walmart stores in western Kentucky got the attention of customers in the electronics aisles over the weekend. About 80 singing and guitar-strumming protestors with the Texas Campaign for the Environment pitched a few notes urging Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., to "Match It!" when it comes to Best Buy's electronic waste (e-waste) recycling program.

The group's Austin program director, Stacy Guidry, says the nation's largest retailer should embrace the "take-back" idea, where customers can return outdated or worn out tech gadgets because it's good for customers, the earth and their cash registers.

"What we're doing is pitting Wal-Mart against Best Buy, because Best Buy nationally recycles - they take back. They use their stores as take-back locations."

Guidry says nearly 24 states have electronic waste recycling or take-back laws; Kentucky is not among them. Her group is also working on federal legislation that would halt the practice of dumping e-waste by exporting it - an activity that affects several third-world countries.

"Most customers don't know that their electronics, even though they're shiny and pretty, contain extremely toxic heavy metals. The U.S does not have a ban on exporting these old gadgets or equipment overseas."

Guidry says the bottom line for U.S. retailers looking to protect their bottom line is to take more responsibility in producing electronics and tech toys that last longer and are less toxic.

"If you want to sustain your business, you can't rape the earth. You have to give something back. You have to give back to your community. You are not allowed to poison your customers."

Guidry says the Texas Campaign for the Environment is planning a day of action at month's end to draw more attention to e-waste recycling taking place around the world. More information is available at

Renee Shaw, Public News Service - KY