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Establish a lifecycle process for the electronic devices for recycling purpose


Segment    Family    Class




SDG Alignment

12. Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns

SDG Target


Target Description

By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse

Level of Effort

Level of Effort Scale


1 -Quick Wins: solution involves adding criteria for the good or service being purchased (ex: certifications), minimal internal process changes.

2 -Long Term Adoption: solution requires some changes to internal processes and/or more capital investment (ex: digital transformation to reduce paper use).

3 – Disruptive Opportunities: requires significant investment and changes to internal processes (ex: retrofitting building)

Category Assessment

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• Evaluate the possibility or potential for implementing an in-house recycling program, where recycled materials and equipment are reintroduced into a new product that is developed in-house or provided to the available market. For example, circuit boards can be given to recycling providers for cash.

• Request for proof to confirm that these suppliers are following the WEEE Directives (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, refer to the resources for directions on how you can use the WEEE guidelines to conduct a self assessment).

• Communicate with your partners in the supply chain may be able to help identify what’s possible, learn what’s already being recycled or refurbished. Your raw materials providers or prior stage of manufacturer or final retailer may have more options to consider. Working across the complete supply chain is very critical for true lifecycle management options.

Opportunity Identification 

Recycled products can be reused by OEM, and increased market opportunity can be perceived as a more sustainable business scope. This could be an internal process where the OEM develops a new product where an end-of-life product has been reintroduced (the end-product was recuperated to sell/donate to a third-party recycling program).

In 2016, Basel Action Network found that 34% of the e-waste tracked by GPS trackers in the U.S. moved offshore, all to the developing nations. In 2016, approximately 45 million metric tons of e-waste was generated worldwide, of which only 20% were recycled properly. This was identified as a part of the e-Trash Transparency Project - the public has the right to know

Strategy Build & Execution

• Identify whether a recycling option exists for your end-product or whether reverse logistics options are available from the manufacturer.

• Evaluate the potential commercial benefits associated with the recycling of the chosen end-product.

• Align with stakeholders to create a Process Flow Strategy for recuperation and recycling (especially logistics aspect).

• Ensure there is a robust quality management system in place for the process to secure a higher chance of success. Quality checks include alignment with your partners' programs and industry certifications. Also consider criterias for quality checks, such as the quality of the goods to be recycled, quality of the recycling process, process quality of your refurbished goods, etc. This should all be done to preserve the integrity of the product.

• Align with decision-makers for project execution

Supplier Negotiation & Contract

• Negotiate with suppliers on value-added components in their service including transporting, handling, and recycling the product.

• Establish Contract Supplier Performance Measures where possible. Ask the supplier for visibility into conflict minerals reporting, ISO-14001, ISO 9001, and ROHS compliance. If commercially feasible, consider negotiating the downstream, product end of life recuperation program with the supplier. Depending on the OEM or reseller, they might derive value in receiving technology end of life.

Supplier Performance & Management

• Record volume of electronics recycled and refurbished. Record customer data and compare it with historical data on electronic waste. The success of the program can be a measured using the performance of device volume intake. There should be a decrease in electronic waste and toxic waste from your company as a result of your new lifecycle process. The collected data should be recorded and shared in stakeholder related reports.

•Integrate annual checks for conflict mineral reporting, compliance with warranty/quality assurance clauses, energy-saving initiatives, and WEEE directive regulations (UK).

Resource Links

Ying-Chin, H., & Liang-Chen, F. (2014). Achieving quality performance and environmental sustainability through the genius loci of quality management systems: A study on computer accessories companies in Taiwan and South China. The International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 31(2), 144-165.

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