Photo: kid_entropy via Flickr
Panasonic announced this week the benefits from using SAP’s Recycling Administration application. The two companies have collaborated for over five years now.This program helps the consumer electronics giant manage and meet Europe’s e-waste regulations under the WEEE Directive, which makes manufacturers responsible for dealing with their electronic products at the end of their life.
The program, for an unspecified cost, cut Panasonic’s recycling costs by 15% and halved the number of hours employees dedicated toward ensuring regulatory compliance.
As Panasonic’s own recycling system matures, they can count on further benefits in the form of better logistics, reduced waste, and reuse of key resources such as magnets and other rare earths.
SAP’s Recycling Administration application manages a company’s packaging waste, batteries, and e-waste in accordance with different worldwide legislation’s on recycling and disposal. It tracks data and packages, consolidates and reduces costs, and prepares templates for over 50 different compliance schemes.
Responsible e-waste recycling is an emerging trend, and tighter regulations are also on the horizon for the U.S. This past summer, Representatives Gene Green (D-TX) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) proposed the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2011, which would set strict standards on the disposal and recycling of e-waste. Currently, 50-80% of our “recycled” e-waste is actually exported to Africa, India, and China.
After it leaves our borders, it’s nearly impossible to know whether the “recycled” electronics are properly recycled or sent to a toxic dump for incineration. That’s why this new legislation has drawn strong support from many industry leaders such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Samsung and Best Buy. In 2009, Dell led the computer industry by voluntarily banning exports of e-waste.
Shipping e-waste across the sea for recycling, just to ship it back in the form a new product is a huge carbon problem. Compound that with the fact that many products still end up being incinerated and the entire situation becomes a carbon nightmare. That’s why collaborative e-waste management, like Panasonic and SAP’s partnership, is crucial for reducing carbon footprint and meeting overall sustainability goals.
In 2007, Panasonic also partnered with Sharp and Toshiba to establish the Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company. Earlier this year, UPS partnered with Toshiba and Dell partnered with Staples to improve e-waste management. These organisations are leading the sustainability charge, but more widespread collaboration and innovation exchange are imperative to reducing our global carbon footprint.
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