Posts Tagged ‘electronics’

Guest Blog – Promoting the Business Case for Product Stewardship

Posted by GlobalPSC at 1:17 pm, December 7th, 2016Comments0

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The Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is Dr Helen Lewis, Principal of Helen Lewis Research and author of Product Stewardship in Action.

 

Product stewardship is often promoted as an environmental strategy for companies, or as an effective public policy solution to the costs of waste and recycling.

During my research and in-depth discussions with industry practitioners over the past few years, the broader benefits and value of product stewardship to business have become clear. Companies that understand the environmental and social impacts of their products; engage with stakeholders through genuine and open dialogue; and then implement appropriate strategies; can create shared value for themselves and their stakeholders. This applies whether the company is taking individual action or collaborating with industry peers.

Product stewardship in action: the business case for lifecycle thinking (Greenleaf UK) builds on my own experiences in eco-design, recycling and product stewardship. It would not have been possible, however, without the generosity of those I interviewed. Russ Martin, CEO of the GlobalPSC, supported this project from the beginning, provided useful information and insights, and connected me to local and international practitioners.

GlobalPSC members feature in some of the detailed case studies, including Call2Recycle (batteries and mobile phones), Vinyl Council of Australia (PVC packaging, medical products, flooring etc.), TechCollect (TVs and computers) and Close the Loop (printer cartridges). Other members, such as the Product Stewardship Institute, Product Stewardship Society, Dell, CalRecycle, Australian Packaging Covenant, Perchards Limited and PETCO, are also included as either mini-case studies or interviews.

My heartfelt thanks to all of the people who contributed their time, knowledge and insights to the project. GlobalPSC members can purchase the book at a 30% discount – please email Russ Martin for details.

 

TechCollect Product Stewardship Forum

Posted by GlobalPSC at 7:00 pm, August 31st, 2016Comments0

Collaboration and shared responsibility are key, and while Australia has implemented a range of product stewardship approaches, there is room for improvement. These were common themes at a product stewardship forum hosted recently in Sydney by GlobalPSC Corporate Member TechCollect. The forum was well-attended and featured a range of product categories including electronics, paint, agricultural chemicals and chemical containers, and tyres.

Carmel Dollisson opens TechCollect PS Forum 120816

TechCollect CEO Carmel Dollisson opens TechCollect’s Product Stewardship Forum

 

The Australian Government, a long-standing GlobalPSC Government Member, also provided essential context on Australia’s experience to date and on plans for the five-year review of Australia’s Product Stewardship Act 2011.

Peter Brisbane on PS Framework 120816

Peter Brisbane, Director, Stewardship and Waste for the Australian Department of Environment and Energy outlines Australia’s product stewardship framework 

Contact TechCollect or the GlobalPSC directly for more information and insights from the forum.

 

Guest Blog – Addressing the Challenges of Measuring Recycling Performance

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:45 pm, June 8th, 2016Comments1

The Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is Carl Smith, President and CEO of Call2Recycle, Inc.

Prior to becoming the head of a non-profit 12 years ago, I had spent most of my career with big for-profit companies where we measured everything. These measures provided continuous feedback on what was working and what needed to be fixed (or stopped). Upon arriving in the non-profit, product stewardship world, I noted that much less was measured and that organizational performance metrics were at best elusive.

One of the biggest frustrations we have is how to accurately assess the performance of our battery recycling efforts. The recycling field has typically relied on “diversion rates” as a measure; specific to battery collection and recycling, the more specific “collection rate” measure is typically used. As has been defined by the EU, battery collection rate is defined by the amount recycled in a year divided by the average annual sales of batteries for the previous three years. Like “diversion rates”, a “collection rate” is expressed as a percentage.

Traditionally, the focus of the Call2Recycle® program in the US has been on collecting and recycling rechargeable batteries. For a variety of reasons, this ‘typical’ approach to measuring our performance simply didn’t make sense.

First, fairly soon after I took this position, it became clear that rechargeable battery companies simply do not know what their consumer battery sales are into any specific jurisdiction. There are simply too many channels, applications and value chains to even estimate sales. For a very simple example, let’s look at how a big retailer like Walmart operates in the US. It purchases in vast quantities directly from a manufacturing facility in Asia. The facility transports via container ship to a West Coast port where they are then trucked to a distribution facility in a Midwestern state. Given the North American Fair Trade Agreement (NAFTA), units could also be shipped to distribution centers in Canada and Mexico. Those distributions centers then fulfill store orders on a ‘just in time’ basis. So if you asked the manufacturer how many batteries it has sold in, for instance, the state of Vermont, it won’t know. It sold to Walmart and where they actually appeared in the US market is a mystery to them.

Second, the rechargeable batteries we’re collecting today are likely 5, 10 or even 20 years old. On average, they were certainly not sold during the three-year window that a typical collection rate calculation would measure. A related issue to this is the general inclination that consumers “hoard” electronics and batteries long after their useful life. How many old cellphones do you have sitting in a drawer? When is the last time you used your first power tool?

These issues are particularly difficult for rechargeable batteries which generally last longer than primary batteries, are hoarded more (with the products they power) and are sold through much more complex value chains. So the conventional approach to assessing our performance using a collection rate just didn’t work.

We commissioned a study to see if we could develop a methodology that was repeatable, credible and defensible that would provide us more insight into this issue. When we started the study, we focused on two stages:,

  1. develop a way of accurately measuring battery sales; and
  2. adjust sales for the lifespan of the batteries.

The more we immersed ourselves into this subject, a third issue emerged that was in the initial research requirements.

Increasingly, rechargeable batteries are designed so that they cannot be easily removed by the consumer, which generally means that they are not typically available to be recycled. Cellphones, tablets and laptops are the most obvious examples of this. But how about electric toothbrushes and cordless shavers? Even when the host product is recycled by, let’s say, an electronics recycler, the batteries are not typically the material most coveted in the process. Therefore, even if they are technically recycled with the host product, the process has not often been optimized to reclaim the precious material in the battery.

We maintain that embedded batteries are not generally available for collection by a battery stewardship program and should be excluded from the calculation of “collection rate”. So we added a third stage of this research: adjust sales downward by the amount of embedded batteries in order to determine an accurate assessment of the amount of batteries truly available for collection.

The outcome of this research – the paper available via this link– shows our results. It gives us a new denominator called “available for collection” that would replace the EU standards of the average of the last three years’ sales. In the end, we now say:

Collection Rate = Batteries Collected / Sales (Lifespan) – Embedded Batteries

In addition to the important data generated through this research, we came away with four important observations consistent with the conversation above:

  • For primary batteries, battery sales from “bricks and mortar” retail locations are less and less of the total market. There are many more diverse channels for batteries to enter the marketplace including, in particular, on-line markets.
  • A new method for measuring collection rates is needed for rechargeable batteries to measure collection performance. Such a method must meaningfully capture longer battery and product lifecycles and increases in embedded batteries.
  • While some but not all of the products that rechargeable batteries power are managed through other stewardship programs, they are generally getting “lost” in tracking performance.
  • It is imperative that collection programs incorporate long product lifecycles into their funding models, as batteries remain in market long after they are sold.

The last point is notable. Most battery stewardship programs charge stewards based on sales into the market. However, there may be a 20-year lag time between when steward fees are paid on a sale and when we incur the cost to collect and recycle the battery from that sale. This puts a strain on funding models that are often forced to minimize reserves that might take care of the long-term “tail” associated with rechargeable batteries.

In the end, we felt we “moved the needle” on creating a better way to measure performance. We also added to the conversation on the issues associated with battery collection and recycling. But we don’t believe we’ve totally solved the challenges, hopefully giving others the opportunity to contribute to this discussion.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Product Stewardship Council.  

Carl E. Smith is President and CEO of Call2Recycle, Inc., North America’s leading product stewardship organization. With more than 35 years’ experience in environmental issues, program development, advocacy, corporate communications and technology, Carl is a nationally and internationally recognized spokesperson and leader in the corporate responsibility, sustainability and product stewardship arena. Carl leads the Atlanta-based non-for-profit organization in its efforts to help preserve the environment through responsible recycling of batteries among other products. Carl is also a GlobalPSC Executive Committee member and our Treasurer.

 

10 Years of Mobile Phone Recycling Insights

Posted by GlobalPSC at 2:31 pm, October 22nd, 2015Comments1

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) has released a report into how Australians’ attitudes to mobile phone use and recycling have changed over the past ten years showing that the gap between the number of mobiles used and consumer willingness to reuse and recycle is still excessive.

Despite record awareness of mobile phone recycling, Australians are still reluctant to part with old phones – some of which don’t even work.
“Australians are getting better at recycling, very few phones now go to landfill (down from 9% to 2%) and more and more phones are being recycled and resold.  However, like many countries across the globe the number of phones laying idle in homes has soared, up from 12 million to over 22.5 million in the past decade.  Almost one for every Australian.

“This represents a lost opportunity for reuse and recycling that enables materials to be put back into the supply chain, closing the loop, slowing the depletion of finite non-renewable resources and creating a circular economy,” comments Rose Read, Recycling Manager, MobileMuster (pictured below talking participants through the report’s findings).

“The research suggests that people still consider keeping their phone a better option than recycling even if it doesn’t work, will never be used and they know that it can be recycled. For many people keeping a phone is about having a backup and for more and more people it’s also about data security concerns.  But in reality how many backups do you need?”

Following the report’s launch and discussion of its findings, a panel discussed product stewardship for mobile phones and other electronics, including opportunities and barriers for reuse and recycling.

 

[Panel participants L-R: Peter Brisbane, Director, Stewardship and Waste, Department of Environment; James Chin Moody, Founder and CEO, Sendle; Dr Ruth Lane, School of Social Sciences, Monash University; Matthew Lobb, AMTA Chairman & General Manager, Industry Strategy and Public Policy, Vodafone Hutchison Australia. Not pictured: John Fieschi, Head of Buy Back and Financial Services, Brightstar]

Additional insights, MobileMuster Annual Reports and other publications are available here.

EPRA Wins Canadian Stewardship Award

Posted by GlobalPSC at 10:50 am, October 14th, 2015Comments1

The Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) was awarded the 2015 Canadian Stewardship Award in the Business/ Organization Category at the recent Conference on Canadian Stewardship in Banff, Alberta. On hand to accept the award on behalf of all eight EPRA programs and the team of EPRA/OES employees was Cliff Hacking, President and CEO of EPRA.

“This is an award that we have all won together,” said Hacking “and I thank all of our team for their contribution towards our success and the winning of this award.” Hacking also acknowledged that “the success of the programs and the award would not be possible without our founding organizations, Electronics Product Stewardship Canada and Retail Council of Canada, our over 6,500 stewards, and the EPRA and OES Board Members.”

 “The judges were able to make this choice based on the excellent work that EPRA has been doing since its inception,” said Mark McKenney, Managing Director – Conference on Canadian Stewardship. “My personal congratulations to all our EPRA colleagues. Your organization is a deserving winner of this award.”

L-R: Cliff Hacking, President and CEO of EPRA; Mark McKenney, Managing Director – Conference on Canadian Stewardship

R2 Pilot Expansion in Latin America

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:57 pm, August 25th, 2015Comments1

SERI‘s Latin America pilot project has shifted to helping participating recyclers learn and implement the requirements in the R2 Standard, following Spanish and Portuguese translations of the R2 Standard.

Now SERI and project partners Greeneye Partners, DIRECTV, Oracle, Sims Recycling Solutions and Arrow Electronics have announced that Greeneye Partners has completed site visits for the recycling facilities participating in the project,and performed a gap analysis for facilities in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador. R2 implementation training is also being offered to facility managers and environmental, health, and safety representatives.

“Stakeholders throughout electronics recycling community have recognized the need for more responsible, safe, and sustainable management of used electronics in Central and South America. By working with our partners to increase the number of responsible recycling options, SERI hopes to set a positive example others can build on. There is still much work to be done, but  this project represents an important first step in improving the overall quality of electronics recycling in the region”, Henry Leineweber, Program Director for SERI, told the GlobalPSC.

Progress to date has been encouraging, though many challenges remain such as communicating the importance of responsible recycling and the need for R2 certification in the region.  Developing cost-effective infrastructure to support certification, including local consultants and auditors, translated versions of EHSMS plans and documents, and acceptable end-markets for materials will also prove essential.

e-Waste Product Stewardship for New Zealand Report

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:30 pm, August 24th, 2015Comments2

The final report to develop an e-waste product stewardship framework for the New Zealand Ministry for Environment is now available.

 

Celebrating Five Years of Industry-led Electronics Recycling in Prince Edward Island

Posted by GlobalPSC at 12:26 pm, August 3rd, 2015Comments1

The Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) recently celebrated five years of coverage on Canada’s Prince Edward Island (PEI).

In that five years, EPRA has collected and recycled more than 3,000 metric tonnes of unwanted electronics in the province. “That’s approximately 465,000 TVs, computers, printers and a myriad of other electronic devices diverted from landfill and illegal export,” said Cliff Hacking, President and CEO of EPRA. “Not only are these products being recycled responsibly, but they also yield a host of valuable materials such as steel, copper, silver, palladium and glass that is put back into the manufacturing supply chain,” said Hacking.

L-R: Gerard MacLellan, Executive Director of EPRA Atlantic Canada; Cliff Hacking – President and CEO of EPRA; The Hon Robert Mitchell, Minister of Communities, Land and Environment (PEI); Gerry Moore, CEO of Island Waste Management

EPRA is a not-for-profit, industry-led organisation that works in partnership with manufacturers, retailers, municipal governments and consumers to ensure end-of-life electronics are diverted from landfills and recycled in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner. “It’s a strong partnership model that’s seen success here in Prince Edward Island and across the country,” said Hacking.

This view was supported by Minister Mitchell, saying “Islanders can and should be proud of what’s been achieved here over the last five years” and “(t)his level of commitment to responsibly recycling electronics is a true reflection of their belief in being responsible stewards of our beautiful province.”
 The Minister commended EPRA PEI and more than 300 participating retailers, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of regulated electronics in the province for making the program a success.

EPRA’s success in PEI is attributed primarily to 80% program awareness in the province and to convenient access to collection depots, with 99% of the population within 30 kilometres of an EPRA drop-off depot.

 

São Paulo Brazil Introduces Reverse Logistics Requirements for Products and Packaging

Posted by GlobalPSC at 6:34 pm, July 31st, 2015Comments1

São Paulo Brazil’s Department of the Environment has introduced obligations on manufacturers, importers, distributors and traders for reverse logistics systems for a range of products and packaging (with some specified exemptions). Specified products include:

  • used lubricating oil
  • edible oil
  • automotive oil filters
  • automotive batteries
  • portable batteries and batteries
  • electronic products and components
  • fluorescent, sodium vapor, mercury and mixed lights
  • scrap tires
  • expired or unused medicines

The GlobalPSC is in the process of seeking clarification of several key provisions and will advise accordingly.

 

South Africa Requires Industry Waste Management Plans

Posted by GlobalPSC at 5:20 pm, July 31st, 2015Comments1

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South Africa has issued requirements for the paper and packaging industry, electrical and electronic equipment industry and lighting industry to prepare and submit industry waste management plans for approval by the Minister of Environmental Affairs under the National Environmental Management Act 2008.

Details on requirements, consultation process, timeframes and penalties for non-compliance are available to GlobalPSC members in the Knowledge Base under the Frameworks & Harmonization tab.

 

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Global Product Stewardship Council

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Tel: +61 2 9449 9909
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Email: info@globalpsc.net