Mac buyers who shop at Apple's online store or its retail outlets will receive e-mail with instructions and a free shipping label if they choose to participate, Apple said in a statement. The company promised that all received systems will be recycled domestically, and no hazardous material will be shipped outside the U.S.
The free program is available only to buyers in the lower 48 states.
Other computer makers, notably Hewlett-Packard and Dell, have had similar programs in place, although of those two only Dell offers a free take-back.
On the 2005 scorecard of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), HP and Dell ranked one and two, respectively, in overall recycling efforts, while Apple was sixth, behind ViewSonic, IBM, and Sony.
More details of Apple's computer recycling plan will be posted to the company's Web site.