Designing for recycling
Recyclability – including designing for disassembly – is critical to reduce the environmental impact of our products at the end of their life and reduce the costs of recycling. This is one of the areas we focus on in our EcoDesign approach, as we work to continuously improve the overall environmental performance of our products.
Our aim is to use our planet’s limited resources in a sustainable way. This calls for manufacturers to engage in developing solutions for effective and efficient recycling of their products. Furthermore, it calls for governments to facilitate the creation of a level playing field for industry.
As a leading brand in Health and Well-being, we want to improve people’s quality of life through meaningful innovation. We also aim to differentiate ourselves through the environmental performance of our products, which includes designing for energy efficiency, chemical content of products, life time reliability and recyclability amongst others. Philips therefore supports the principle of Individual Producer Responsibility (IPR) as it can create financial incentives for producers to reduce the environmental impact of their products at the end of life through ecodesign measures.
Philips supports the IPR principle as introduced in article 8.2 of the WEEE Directive. We also realize that there are still major challenges to allow for a transition towards IPR-based recycling systems, in particular in Europe. We will therefore actively cooperate with our industry partners, the recycling community and other stakeholders to further develop these systems and their supporting financial mechanisms to create the boundary conditions to make IPR work.
Philips supports the setup of recycling infrastructures together with industry partners, where we share a common strategy: create sustainable financing schemes which guarantee the effective and environmentally sound collection and recycling of WEEE. This approach has proven to be successful in reducing environmental impact, minimizing the costs to society of these activities, raising consumer awareness, and increasing effectiveness of recycling.
Philips’ view is that for many of its products collective recycling infrastructures provide the best solution from both economical as well as environmental perspective. Philips also believes that for some products it is beneficial to maintain visibility of recycling costs to be able to recognize and correct abusive actions where high recycling costs for instance result in actively de-incentivizing return rates or having products recycled by malafidious collection and recycling organizations. Furthermore, producers that have invested in products which represent a lower impact at end of life or actively stimulate a closed loop of materials must be rewarded for lower end of life costs. It is important to have choices as to how to finance IPR. In that respect, we believe IPR systems can for example be implemented through a differentiated fee or through a bank guarantee. This is the most effective way to avoid the creation of “orphan waste” when producers cease to exist, and is a means to create transparency, enforceability, and a level playing field in the market.
StEP (solving the E-waste Problem)
Philips is a charter member of the Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) initiative, which is a UN supported global public-private initiative. StEP charter members include Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Dell, Ericsson, and Cisco Systems, along with governmental, NGO and academic institutions, as well as recycling/refurbishing companies.
Prime goals of the initiative are to standardize recycling processes globally to harvest valuable components in electrical and electronic scrap (e-scrap), extend the life of products and markets for their reuse, and harmonize world legislative and policy approaches to e-scrap.
To learn more about StEP please visit http://www.step-initiative.org/
We have started pilot projects for voluntary collection and recycling in India, Brazil, and Argentina. These pilots will facilitate and provide valuable experience on the infrastructure required to set up quality electronics recycling systems based on the IPR principle in these countries. It is Philips intention to help establish global collection and recycling systems.