Global Initiatives for Used Product Recycling

For the purpose of efficient use of natural resources and the 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 2018 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.

FY2018 Results

Japan Processed approx. 145,260 tons of four kinds of used home appliances
Europe Collected approx. 28,000 tons of used electronic products
USA Collected approx. 583 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 (19 companies including Panasonic), and supervises 340 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 2018, we processed approx. 145,260 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 high-speed 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%.

In addition, PETEC has introduced crushing and sorting lines for copper pipes and mixed metals. In these lines, copper pipes cut and recovered from the air conditioner line, as well as mixed metals (mixture of copper and aluminum) obtained after removing iron and plastic from crushed refrigerators, are re-crushed and re-sorted to increase the resource values of copper and aluminum.

*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 2017, we collected approx. 28,000 tons*5 of used products covered by the WEEE Directive across Europe.

Article 15 of Directive 2012/19/EU on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) requires producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to provide information free of charge about preparation for re-use and treatment for each type of EEE placed on the market.

To fulfil the WEEE Article 15 requirements for providing specific recycling related information to recycling organizations in a much more efficient and beneficial way than in the past, producers and producer responsibility organizations have teamed up to create "Information for Recyclers – I4R", a unique one-stop source platform aimed at providing a whole range of information and guidance on how to handle WEEE: I4R Platform. This new platform will allow recyclers to access information about the presence and location of materials and components that need separate treatment. Panasonic was very active in providing information for I4R.

The Russian Waste Law has been amended several times. The most recent amendment came into force in December 2017. It sets environmental collection targets and fee rates for WEEE, packaging, and batteries for 2018 until 2020. 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 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. MRM has collected approximately 395,144 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. 6,300 tons of primary and rechargeable batteries in the U.S. and Canada, across more than 10,000 public and 13,000 private collection sites.

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 3,200 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 132,417 tons were collected and resulted in an average of 3.58 kg per capita in Canada.

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 anticipated that future collection weights will also decrease.

In 2017, New Brunswick was the last province to launch the end-of-life recycling program leaving the territories of the Yukon, with a delayed program, and Nunavut working to legislate e-waste.

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 2017, 4 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 our obligation under the national scheme. Below are the recycling-related data for televisions and computers from 2012-2018:

Period Collection Volume
July 2013 – June 2014 1,052 tons
July 2014 – June 2015 1,166 tons
July 2015 – June 2016 1,108 tons
July 2016 – June 2017 1,027 tons
July 2017 – June 2018 1,221 tons

Panasonic Australia is also a member of the Battery Industry Working Group (BIWG). In 2017, BIWG together with the Queensland Government and other stakeholders, conducted two successful pilot collection and recycling programs for handheld batteries.

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, jointly with industry groups and retailers, 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 Asociación Peruana de Actores para la Gestión de Residuos (ASPAGER) as a leading member, and started a used-product recovery program through discussions with the government.

In Costa Rica, we commenced collecting used products through Unidad de Cumplimiento para la Gestión Integral de Residuos Electrónicos (ASEGIRE), a compliance organization for integrated management of waste electronics. A similar program is also in progress in Mexico under the government-approved recycling and management plan. In Colombia, leading manufacturers including Panasonic formed a recycling management organization in cooperation with governmental organizations and industry groups to address the issue of ozone depletion. As part of its activities, the organization has been collecting refrigerators from 2014 and other consumer electronics products such as washing machines and microwave ovens from 2016.

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.