Posts Tagged ‘mobile phones’

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.

Call2Recycle 2014 Annual Report

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:20 pm, May 21st, 2015Comments1

20th Anniversary Badge

Call2Recycle®, North America’s most successful battery collection program, has released its 2014 Annual Report. Call2Recycle attributes their 20 years of growth directly back to the investment of time, money and ideas by their stewards, partners and stakeholders. Two historic milestones are noted for 2014: cumulative battery collections of 100 million pounds (45 million kilograms) and 18 years of year-over-year increases in the volume of batteries collected. Other highlights include:

  • In 2014, Call2Recycle diverted nearly 12 million pounds (5.4 million kilograms) of batteries and cellphones from landfills
  • Battery collections in California topped more than 1 million pounds (454,000 kilograms) for the 3rd straight year
  • Collections in Canada reached over 2.2 million kilograms (4.4 million pounds) of batteries collected, and the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec recorded double-digit collection growth

 

Consultation on New Zealand e-Waste Product Stewardship Draft Report

Posted by GlobalPSC at 12:40 pm, May 14th, 2015Comments0

The team developing an e-waste product stewardship framework for New Zealand has released a Draft Report to stakeholders for comment.

The report contains domestic and international issues for managing e-waste, stakeholder input, data analysis, options considered and a recommended framework.

Stakeholders are invited to email written comments on the #eWasteNZ Draft Report to ewasteNZ@slrconsulting.com by Friday 22 May 2015 in order to help inform a final version that will be submitted to the Ministry for the Environment for consideration. If any difficulties accessing the document arise, a PDF version is available by emailing ewasteNZ@slrconsulting.com.

 

MobileMuster Becomes Australia’s First Accredited Voluntary Product Stewardship Scheme

Posted by GlobalPSC at 8:32 pm, July 25th, 2014Comments1

DSC_3546Sydney, Australia – Federal Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, announced today that MobileMuster, the mobile telecommunications industry’s official recycling scheme, has been formally accredited by the Federal Government as Australia’s first voluntary product stewardship scheme under the Product Stewardship Act 2011.

(L-R: the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, and the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communication)

As the official accredited mobile telecommunications industry recycling program, MobileMuster and its members have committed to increase available collection rates of mobile phones from 50 to 55 per cent and volumes from 87 tonnes to 127 tonnes per year over the next 5 years, as well as increase consumer and industry engagement.

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) manages MobileMuster on behalf of its members. The industry has invested over $36 million in the not-for-profit program, which is free to consumers. Since the program began, over 8.8 million handsets and batteries have been recycled, along with 550,000 kgs of accessories, which equates to nearly 1,100 tonnes of mobile phone and accessory e-waste.

DSC_3524

“Our members and partners work tirelessly to ensure that the promotion, collection, transportation and recycling of old mobiles is done with transparency and accountability and MobileMuster has some of the highest rates of recovery in any recycling program across the world,” said Hakan Eriksson, Deputy Chair of AMTA.

AMTA’s Recycling Manager, Rose Read (pictured L), said receiving the Government’s accreditation gave the program a green tick of approval and recognised that MobileMuster has adhered to the highest safety and ethical standards when recycling old mobiles and accessories.

“The announcement today is an honour for the mobile telecommunications industry’s product stewardship program. It recognises the leadership role MobileMuster has played over the past 16 years and our expertise in developing best practice, ethical recycling programs,” she said.

Mobile Australia: A report into how we use and recycle our mobiles – MobileMuster Annual Report

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:58 pm, December 10th, 2013Comments1

MobileMuster, the official product stewardship program of the Australian mobile phone industry, has released their  latest annual report titled Mobile Australia: A report into how we use and recycle our mobiles’.

 

The aim of this report is to provide a snapshot of mobile phone recycling attitudes and behaviours in Australia and how the industry is leading the effort to ensure responsibility is being taken for their products.

Increasing awareness of the MobileMuster is a continual focus for the program. MobileMuster works with retailers, local governments, schools, workplaces, resellers and other recycling programs to ensure that everyone in Australia can help us keep their old mobile phones and accessories out of landfill and recycling them in a safe, secure and ethical way.

Independent market research conducted by MobileMuster reveals that whilst the community awareness of mobile phone recycling has reached 83%, people’s desire to keep their old mobile phones, instead of recycling them, only dropped slightly from 40% to 37% of people that have two or more unused mobiles at home. As a result the estimated number of handsets in storage at home or work has grown from 22 million to 23 million. On the upside, the percentage of people throwing their mobiles away remained low at 3%.

The duration consumers are owning their mobile phone has increased, now being at its highest level with 25% of Australians owning their mobile for 2+ years. The research shows that it’s the non-smartphone users that are more likely to keep their mobile  phones for an extended period, 2 years or more.

Optisimising resource recovery and recycling materials properly is a high priority for MobileMuster.  MobileMuster’s recycling rate (recovered materials) has increased three points to 96%. It complies with the Australia and New Zealand Standard for the collection, storage, transport and treatment of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment (AS/NZS 5377:2013) and has been independently assured by PwC. As a result, in 2012-13 the materials recovered replaced the need to mine at least 2,270 tonnes of precious metal ores (such as gold, silver and copper).

The program’s diversion rate from landfill has reached 99% in the last financial year, with more than 199 kgs of cadmium and 226 kgs of lead being diverted from landfill. MobileMuster has recovered over 5.78 tonnes of plastic, 58 kgs of precious metals, 1.27 tonnes of aluminium, 1.78 tonnes of steel, 4.26 tonnes of copper and over 0.54 tonne of cobalt as raw materials.

MobileMuster is a unique product stewardship program that brings manufacturers and carriers together in what is considered to be a world-class voluntary and not-for profit program.  It is managed by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) on behalf of its members – Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Huawei, ZTE, Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile and Force Technology.

Members not only fund the program but continue to actively support MobileMuster in-kind by promoting the program to their customers and staff online, through sales material and retail outlets.

Currently, there are over 4,000 drop-off points around Australia for consumers to recycle their old mobile phone, battery and accessories, alongside a free post back recycling satchel available from any Australia Post or a reply-paid downloadable label online at mobilemuster.com.au.  The program also offers free collection and recycling services to workplaces, schools, universities and other businesses

AMTA measures the performance of MobileMuster against nine key indicators measuring changes in consumer behaviour, industry involvement, collection and recycling rates and diversion from landfill. The full report and media release can be viewed online.

Content provided by Rose Read, Recycling Manager for MobileMuster and Treasurer for the Global Product Stewardship Council. MobileMuster is a founding corporate member of the GlobalPSC.

MobileMuster’s Annual Report & 15 Years of Mobile Recycling in Australia Infographic

Posted by GlobalPSC at 3:48 pm, May 16th, 2013Comments0

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are pleased to be presenting to you the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) MobileMuster Annual Report for 2011-12.

This year MobileMuster is also celebrating 15 years since its inception. Since late 1998 the mobile phone industry has collected and recycled more than 1,000 tonnes of old mobile phones, batteries, chargers and accessories – keeping them out of landfill.

This infographic provides a snapshot of the industry’s recycling achievements over the last 15 years.

Recycling materials properly is a high priority. MobileMuster’s recovery rate of 93% now complies with the new Australia and New Zealand Standard for the collection, storage, transport and treatment of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment (AS/NZS 5377:2013) and has been independently assured by PwC.

As a result, in 2011-12 the materials recovered replaced the need to mine at least 1,165 tonnes of precious metal ores for gold, silver and copper as well as iron ore, aluminium and other metals.

None of the mobiles or accessories received by MobileMuster are sold overseas for reuse where potentially they could end up in landfills or processed in unethical and unsafe ways causing environmental harm and risk to human health.  All data is destroyed during the recycling process.

The mobile phone industry works with retailers, local governments, schools, workplaces and the Australian community to ensure everyone can recycle their old mobile safely and easily. Click here to learn more about The MobileMuster Promise.

To learn more about the program or how you can be involved MobileMuster visit www.mobilemuster.com.au or call 1300 730 070.

MobileMuster is a Corporate Member of the Global Product Stewardship Council and Recycling Manager Rose Read is Treasurer of the GlobalPSC.

GlobalPSC Corporate Member – Infoactiv

Posted by GlobalPSC at 3:57 pm, April 16th, 2013Comments22

Environmentally oriented products and services are now key elements in achieving a sustainable future.

Community expectations, consumer trends and government regulations are creating new environmental challenges for producers, distributors and retailers of everyday products.  This includes the need to minimise impacts across the entire product life cycle while also ensuring positive social and economic outcomes.

Infoactiv understands the policy and practice of Product Stewardship and how this can help optimise supply chain management activities in a business context. Sustainable Product Stewardship models necessarily require end-to-end solutions. Most importantly this expertise delivers outcomes that add value through reverse logistics and product recovery.

Established in Australia in 1999 by Helen Jarman, Entrepreneur and Telstra Businesswoman of the Year recipient, Infoactiv is a privately owned Australian company recognised as one of Asia Pacific’s leading and trusted independent providers of managed supply chain services and product recovery programs.

Infoactiv works with a diverse range of customers on projects including Australia’s MobileMuster program, and asset management and recovery solutions at IBM, Lenovo and CSC. Reuse and recycling services are also core activities for several other global brands, OEMs and associations.

Infoactiv solutions cut across jurisdictions, regions, industries, product categories and waste streams. The focus is on adding value, efficiency, effectiveness, innovation and environmentally improved outcomes. This is the space in which Infoactiv operates and thrives.

The video below highlights Infoactiv’s emphasis on collaboration for service delivery, and features other GlobalPSC members MobileMuster and City of Sydney.

For more information visit www.infoactiv.com.au.

Infoactiv’s Chief Sustainability Officer, John Gertsakis, serves on the GlobalPSC Advisory Group.

 

Call2Recycle Cites Banner Year for Battery Recycling in Canada and California

Posted by GlobalPSC at 5:41 am, February 7th, 2013Comments0

North American battery collections increased to a record 10 million pounds (4.7 million kilograms) in 2012, up 16 percent from 2011 levels, according to Call2Recycle, a product stewardship organization managing the only no-cost collection program for batteries and mobile / cell phones in North America.

Call2Recycle attributes its success to especially strong collections in California and Canada, which collected over one million pounds each. California became the first state in the program’s history to achieve this milestone. The 11 percent statewide growth for California came from the municipal and manufacturing sectors, which increased by 23 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

Battery collections grew by 56 percent in Canada for 2012. The increase can be accredited in part to its program expansion in Quebec, where Call2Recycle was selected by RECYC-QUÉBEC to serve as the official battery recycling program for the province. As of July 2012, Call2Recycle began accepting single-use household batteries for recycling in support of the provincial extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulation. As a result, 2012 collections in Quebec rose by 357 percent over 2011.

“Our 2012 performance is vitally linked to the support of our program participants, consumers, and key constituents,” said Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle. “Without their environmental commitment, we would not be able to continue successfully collecting, transporting and recycling the millions of pounds of batteries across the US and Canada.”

Call2Recycle offers convenient battery collection sites through a network of over 30,000 retailers, municipalities, businesses and public agencies throughout the US and Canada and is a Corporate Member of the Global Product Stewardship Council. The GlobalPSC appreciates the long-term support of Call2Recycle and congratulates them on their continued success.

MobileMuster Celebrates 15 Years of Mobile Phone Recycling

Posted by GlobalPSC at 3:58 pm, February 1st, 2013Comments0

MobileMuster, the Australian mobile phone industry’s official recycling program and GlobalPSC corporate member, has just celebrated 15 years of operation at a special event in Sydney. MobileMuster also celebrated recycling and diverting from landfill more than 1 million kg of mobile phone components, including more than 7.2 million mobile phones and batteries plus 480,000 kg of accessories.

Rose Read, MobileMuster’s Manager of Recycling and GlobalPSC Treasurer, stated, ‘Australians love their technology and they also love to hoard it, with more than 22 million old unused mobiles stashed away in homes across the country, it is critical that these do not end up in landfill, and are recycled instead’.

Joining MobileMuster in the festivities were Logie Award and AFI Award winning actor Gyton Grantley, former Junior World Champion surfer Laura Enever and ARIA nominated singer Lisa Mitchell.

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