Electronics Giant HP has pledged to continue increasing the amount of recycled plastic in its products and ensure they can be repaired instead of replaced as part of efforts to create a “closed loop recycling system”.
The pledges were outlined by Kirstie McIntyre, head of global sustainability operations at HP, who was speaking at the company’s annual sustainability summit yesterday (June 28), which coincided with the release of its 2017 Sustainability Report.
The report outlined a 3% increase to 17% in HP’s overall recycling rate of HP hardware sales worldwide, which equates to over 135,000 tonnes.
HP also said in its report that 84% of material used in its plastic ink toners and cartridges are recovered and used in other products, a 4% fall from 2016.
Despite the slight fall worldwide, Mrs McIntyre said she is proud of the company’s achievements.
“I’m very proud of some of our achievements in the past year, including boosting the return to ensure we can collect the products that are being replaced, take them to be recycled and then use them in new products,” she explained.
Ms McIntyre added: “This is increasing and something which we want to continue to do. We also increased the amount of recycled plastic to more than 20% by weight, which is something we want to continue to increase.”
In 2016, HP launched a scheme to source what it describes as “ocean-bound plastic” from Haiti, and re-use this in its products.
In its 2017 report, the company said that it sourced more than 170 tonnes of plastic (over 8.3 million plastic bottles) from Haiti—plastic that might otherwise have washed into waterways and oceans.
The term “likely ocean-plastic” was used as the limited waste management infrastructure in the country meant that the “plastic was likely to end up in the sea”.
In terms of ensuring its products can be repaired, George Brasher, managing director of HP UK, explained that this is a vital part of the process.
“People of course want smaller, thinner products that are quick and easy to use,” he explained.
“While it is easier for us to make a product that cannot be taken apart, it’s important that our products can be repaired if something is slightly wrong with it, as opposed to simply buying another.
“We provide free service documentation for most products, supplemented with service options and warranties.”
Under the WEEE obligations in the UK, companies are obliged to provide provide a free, in store, take back service to customers, or an alternative free take back service.
If a company does not have such a service, it must join the Distributer Takeback Scheme, which means companies pay a fee to cover its waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) obligations.