Dell said on Thursday that it will offer discount coupons to consumers who bring their old Dell PCs to the company for recycling.
The company's free recycling program for consumers in India has also been extended to include PCs from any vendor, provided the customer is interested in buying a PC from Dell, said Mahesh Bhalla, executive director and general manager for consumer sales at Dell India.
The coupon for 1,000 Indian rupees (US$22) on each PC can be used by the consumer to get a discount toward the purchase of any Dell hardware directly from the company, Bhalla said. Purchases through retailers will not qualify for a discount against the coupon, he added.
Dell and other PC makers have reported previously that their free recycling programs had not been very successful in India, because Indian consumers were unwilling to turn in for free their computers for recycling.
Indian consumers expect a price for their outdated PCs and other electronics, Ramapati Kumar, a Greenpeace campaigner, said on Thursday. "It is a cultural thing," he added.
While welcoming Dell's decision to offer discount coupons to consumers who turn in their PCs for recycling, Kumar said the incentive would be attractive only to people who have PCs that are about five years old. For PCs that are two or three years old, for example, consumers would expect a lot more than 1,000 rupees, he added.
Dell's program is designed for PCs that do not work, and for such PCs, a 1,000 rupee coupon will definitely be an incentive, Bhalla said.
Dell does not view the discount coupon plan as a sales effort, but as a way to ensure that consumers do not dispose their old PCs through unorganized channels, Bhalla said.
A big challenge for PC vendors in India is that consumers have the alternative to trade in their PCs at local retail stores, and get a discount on new purchases.
The old PCs are usually refurbished and sold by the retailer or an agent, Kumar said. Sometimes old parts of the computer end up in the large unorganized sector for recycling e-waste, he added.
Dell also announced Thursday a "Dell Go Green Challenge" in an effort to raise awareness and community involvement in green initiatives in India. The contest invites users to share photographs, videos and other depictions of key issues, concerns or thoughts on green technology at dellgogreen.com, it added.