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.