Recycling standards differ widely across the world and are subject to different legislation country by country. We think the development of new recycling technologies is really important to help recover valuable materials. Some materials are simply running out and even if they are still plentiful, recycling limits environmental damage through the unnecessary extraction of new raw materials. We work directly or through partners across the world to help achieve our objectives.
Plastic, copper, steel and other precious metals are the main materials in today’s electronic products. When time comes to disposing of these, how much better to have them recycled so that these precious materials can be used to make new products.
Aside from this, it just isn’t good for the environment to put old electric products in landfill. Some contain materials which are fine when the product is being used, but which could be hazardous if allowed to breakdown in the ground over many years.
We make sure that all waste products we receive are properly recycled and we hope you feel as strongly as we do. In Europe the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations (WEEE) mean that a special symbol (shown to the right) is put on all electric equipment to remind you to recycle it. Facilities have been set up to collect old equipment (WEEE) that would be otherwise go to landfill. This WEEE is then collected and recycled and if this costs money to do, this is paid for by Panasonic and companies like us who are selling new products. If you are a consumer in the UK or Republic of Ireland and want to know where you can take your old electronic products for recycling, visit: http://www.responsible-recycling.co.uk/ orhttp://www.weeeireland.ie/. If you are a business user seeking to dispose of old electrical equipment you may be able to ask us to arrange for the recycling of the product at our cost. Please contact us through your normal sales contact or use the contact us link here for more information.
Of course, really understanding the value and benefits of recycling means going the extra mile. For us this meant rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty. As long ago as 2001 we set up in Japan our own high-tech recycling centre called PETEC (Panasonic Eco Technology Centre). This gives us the ability to recycle a variety of electrical products (both Panasonic and non-Panasonic brand) such as TV’s, washing machines and refrigerators. Then, as we use many of the materials recycled to make new products, we are able to develop better recycling technologies to get more useful materials from the recycling process. Today PETEC recycles around 700,000 products a year and is achieving the objective of “from products to products”.
“In the UK, we have been running a recycling programme for used cartridges since December 2004. This has now been expanded across Europe through a web based return system for the cartridges, which went live in November 2011.
This enables consumers from the UK, Ireland and other European countries to return their used Panasonic cartridges using a professional recycling system. The free return label is available here:
We aim for high recycling rates not just with our products, but also during the manufacturing process. Our environmental strategy sets out our target to minimise the waste we produce that ends up in landfill. In our 2013 business year we achieved a recycling rate of over 99%.
To reach this and the ultimate goal of 100% means we have to find creative ways to deal with our waste. We follow the 3 R's rule of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Reducing the amount of waste arising is just good business sense. For example we have an ongoing programme of minimising the amount of packaging we use while being sure that our products will not be damaged during transportation. Reusing is then prioritised over Recycling. Taking our manufacturing plant in Cardiff as an example, rather than send perfectly good cardboard boxes for recycling, we have developed a relationship with a local company who specialises in the reuse of boxes. Otherwise all materials that are not used in making products and which can't be effectively reused are collected and sorted into reusable streams (electrical parts, metals, plastics, cardboard etc.) and shipped to specific recyclers. Finally, any materials that are not of sufficient quality to recycle but are suitable for waste to energy conversion are shipped to a specific plant in which generates electricity for the local area.
That indium tin oxide (ITO) – a rare metal – is used to produce the LCD TV panel and that this rare metal might be exhausted in only eight years’ time? Due to the low stock of natural supplies as well as the high demand, ITO is considered one of the scarcest natural resources in the world. This has led to increased focus on recycling Indium in which Japan, China and Korea are leaders at present.