Global Initiatives for Used Product Recycling

For the purpose of efficient use of natural resources and prevention of environmental pollution, many countries around the world have been enacting recycling laws and developing their recycling systems. Examples include: the Law for Recycling of Specified Kinds of Home Appliances (Home Appliance Recycling Law) and the Act on the Promotion of Effective Utilization of Resources in Japan, the WEEE Directive in the European Union, and recycling laws in many states in the United States. In China as well, a similar recycling law has taken effect. In addition to complying with the Basel Convention which controls the transfer of hazardous waste to non-OECD countries as well as with related laws in respective countries, we strive to establish the most efficient recycling system in each country that is in line with its local recycling infrastructure, including the utilization of third parties.

Product recycling results in fiscal 2019 are as shown below. Because the collected products are becoming more compact and lighter due to the less volume of collection and recycling of CRT TVs and more flat screen TVs, and because the volume of collection and recycling has decreased due to reforms of business areas in various countries, the weight of collected products is on a flat or downward trend.

FY2019 Results

Japan Processed approx. 165,160 tons of four kinds of used home appliances
Europe Collected approx. 24,761 tons of used electronic products
USA Collected approx. 275 tons of used electronic products

Product Recycling Initiatives in Japan

In response to the Home Appliance Recycling Law of 2001, which covers four specified kinds of home appliances, we established Ecology Net Co., Ltd. jointly with Toshiba Corporation to operate and manage a geographically dispersed recycling network through the effective use of existing recycling facilities nationwide. This recycling management company operates comprehensive recycling-related services on behalf of the “Group A” manufacturers (17 companies including Panasonic), and supervises 333 designated collection sites (shared by "Group A" and "Group B") and 28 recycling facilities. Our recycling factories, Panasonic Eco Technology Center Co., Ltd. (PETEC), Panasonic Eco Technology Kanto Co., Ltd. (PETECK), and Chubu Eco Technology Co., Ltd. (CETEC)*1 conduct unique research to improve our processes for further efficient recycling of the four kinds of used home appliances*2 and for the recovery and supply of many resources. In fiscal 2019, we processed approx. 165,160 tons of the four specified used home appliances.

Amendment of the Home Appliance Recycling Law was considered in 2014 in order to make recycling fees clearer and lower, as well as to increase recycling rates.*3 This resulted in the revision of the statutory recycling rate*4 in April 2015.

Panasonic recycling factories are working to further enhance resource recycling by improving the productivity and recycling rates through efforts of applying different recycling methods appropriate to the characteristics and materials of respective products.

PETECK has developed and put into practical use a space-saving, low-cost compact crushing and sorting system, aiming to efficiently sort air conditioner heat exchangers into single materials. The system can crush heat exchangers in indoor and outdoor air conditioner units simultaneously as they are, and removes grease with centrifugal force generated by highspeed rotating blades on the crushing machine. Aluminum, copper, and iron are sorted by gravity and blower. Copper can be recovered at a high purity of 99%.

Compact crushing and sorting system for heat exchanger of air conditioner in PETECK

*1 PETECK and CETEC are joint ventures between Mitsubishi Materials Corporation and Panasonic.
*2 Air conditioners, TVs, refrigerators/freezers, and washing machines/clothes dryers.
*3 Recycling rate = Valuable resource weight/Total weight of used home appliances.
*4 The amended statutory recycling rates are at least: 80% for air conditioners, 55% for CRT TVs, 74% for LCD and plasma TVs, 70% for refrigerators and freezers, and 82% for washing machines and clothes dryers.

Recycling Efforts in the Europe / CIS Region

In 2018, we collected approx. 24,761 tons*5 of used products covered by the WEEE Directive across Europe.

Circular Economy Package (Legislative review of Directives on Waste)
The EU Circular Economy Waste Package has entered into force on July 4, 2018 with new requirements on EPR (Extended Producer Responsibilities) for WEEE, Packaging and Batteries.
This Waste Package is the EU’s approach towards "closing the loop" of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use measures. The provisions include setting ambitious recycling targets for waste recycling and measures on extended producer responsibility.
Panasonic is working through the industry association DIGITALEUROPE on proper implementation of the new requirements.

WEEE Open Scope
From August 15, 2018 onwards, the scope of the WEEE Directive was extended to include basically all kinds of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).
In 2018, all EEE had to be re-classified within 6 WEEE categories from the initially established 10 WEEE categories.
Most national WEEE collection schemes provided new price lists as well as new declaration categories and subcategories for producers.
In response to this, Panasonic Europe thoroughly updated, with tremendous efforts, their European recycling information database with the newly applicable national categories in order to be able to generate declarations of EEE put on the market according to the new requirements.

The Russian Waste Law has been amended several times. The most recent amendments came into force in July, August, and October 2018. They define new declaration forms and declaration procedures. Producers and importers must manage waste from their product and packaging waste either through self-compliance or a collective organization, or pay an environmental fee. 14 members (including Panasonic) are registered as members of the collective organization EPR E-WASTE RECYCLING.
Panasonic is working on further developing appropriate regulations and on improving the recycling infrastructure in Russia through the industry association RATEK.

*5 Calculated by multiplying the weight of collected products per collection system by Panasonic market share in terms of weight per collection system.

Promoting Recycling Activities in North America

Panasonic continues its leadership role in establishing and operating a recycling system for waste batteries and consumer electronic products in North America. Following the startup of a state recycling law in Minnesota in July 2007, we established the Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company, LLC (MRM), jointly with Toshiba Corporation and Sharp Corporation in September of the same year, and began recycling TVs, PCs, and other electronic equipment.

With collaborative ties to several recycling companies, MRM operates collection programs on behalf of 43 companies across 20 states and the District of Columbia. The cumulative total of collection by MRM has reached 1 billion lbs.
(approximately 460 thousand tons) since its inception in 2007. With the changes in Panasonic’s business strategies in the US in 2016, our remaining collection obligations are de-minimis, MRM will continue operating its collection programs on behalf of the manufacturers it serves.

As for waste batteries, we established Call2Recycle in 1994 jointly with other battery manufacturers, and now provide recycling programs for rechargeable batteries throughout the US and Canada. Call2Recycle provides collection programs and a robust retail collection network for over 300 companies, and collected approx. 52,278 tons of primary and rechargeable batteries in the U.S. and Canada since the organization’s inception. In terms of accessibility, 86% of US residents live within 10 miles of a Call2Recycle collection site.

Recycling end-of-life products in Canada started in 2004 with the Alberta Government Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulation. Since then a total of ten provinces and two territories have legislated WEEE, each with their own unique parameters and requirements. In an effort to harmonize these programs, Panasonic Canada takes an active role in the governance of the Electronic Product Recycling Association, a not-for-profit management organization which was established with the mandate to standardize operations and bring about economies of scale on a national basis through 3,400 collection sites. They are now responsible for managing all the provincial programs with the exception of Alberta and the two territories, as these three programs are under the direct jurisdictions of their governments and not industry. The currently active provincial EPR programs have proven to be very effective in diverting e-waste as reflected in last year’s totals, where 115,890 tons in Canada were collected.

As the number of heavy CRT televisions entering the e-waste stream is on the decrease and the trend of light weighting of our products continues, it is therefore apparent that a new measurement/target must be agreed upon as weight collection alone is no longer a valid indicator of program performance.

In 2017, New Brunswick was the last province and the Yukon the last territory to launch their end-of-life recycling programs resulting in all of Canada regulating WEEE programs.

Initiatives in China

In China, through the Executive Committee of Foreign Investment Companies (ECFIC) and other organizations, we are engaged in activities to clarify the products covered by the Second Catalog (published in February 2015) of the Regulation for the Administration of the Recycling and Treatment of Waste Electrical and Electronic Products, which was published in May 2012 and enforced in July of the same year. In addition, we actively gather information and submit comments on setting unit-based rates for the covered products, toward early disclosure of information by Chinese governmental organizations such as the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Finance.

We are also carrying out an assessment of the development of the Plan on Promoting Extended Producer Responsibility promulgated by the government in January 2017 and reviewing our response.

International Collaboration in Southeast Asia and Oceania

Vietnam

Since the introduction of recycling law in Vietnam in July 2016, producers and importers are required to establish a take back scheme for their products sold in Vietnam. Panasonic Sales Vietnam has since set up 7 collection points in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Haiphong, Thanhhoa, Nghean, Danang, and Cantho. In 2018, 32 tons of e-waste were collected and sent to licensed recyclers for proper treatment.

Australia

The National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme was established in Australia in 2011.

Panasonic Australia is a member of the MRI PSO, a co-regulatory arrangement approved by the Australian government to fulfill its obligation under the national scheme. Between July 2018 and June 2019, 1,161 tons of e-waste were recycled.

Other Southeast Asia countries

Regulators in Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore are also gearing towards the global trend of mandating responsible endof-life product recycling. Discussions with regulators and industry bodies are in progress. Such examples include Malaysia Department of Environment-Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) e-waste management mechanism development project and Thailand local industry association.

Through such engagements between the government and industry bodies, Panasonic hopes to contribute to the formulation of sustainable e-waste management policy in each country.

Recycling Efforts in India

In India, the new e-waste recycling law has been implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) from the 1st of October 2017, with Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) targets based on end-oflife (EoL) defined in the e-waste (Management) rules 2016. To fulfill the compliance, we will collect and recycle waste home appliances through the "I Recycle" program already established by Panasonic India (PI).

Panasonic has also been taking part in the Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA), which promotes an analysis of current recycling activities in India as well as a long-term plan for waste problem solutions.

We are having various dialogues with the Indian government, jointly with CEAMA, about the EPR target and EoL definition for recycling management.

We are also actively engaged in different active associations including the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to establish an even more efficient and robust recycling system and to submit industry comments to the Indian government for a better governance system.

Recycling Initiatives in Latin America

In response to a growing trend in stricter environmental laws in Latin American countries, discussions on the establishment of recycling laws and actual enforcement are being conducted.

In Brazil, through industry groups, we are discussing the establishment of local recycling systems with the government, as well as actively participating in collection campaigns in major cities.

In Peru, under the recycling law that came into force in 2016, we joined a nonprofit organization Asociacion Peruana de Actores para la Gestion de Residuos (ASPAGER) as a leading member, and started a used-product recovery program.

In Mexico, a collection program is implemented under the government-approved recycling and management plan.

In Chile, the legislation process has also been accelerated and preparations for setting up a collection program are underway through continuous discussions with the government.

In Argentina, we are participating in the Latin American Battery Association (ALPIBA) and engaging in continuous discussions with the government for effective legislation on the regulation of dry cell batteries.