Closing the loop for plastic in electronic products: main drivers, challenges and key success factors
Dr Marta Jakowczyk
Program Manager: Take Back and Recovery Ops EMEA
Plastics can be considered one of the most important discoveries of the past century. Due to their tremendous advantages such as ease of manufacturing, versatility, durability and low cost, plastics have become the 'new metals' in electronics manufacturing and other sectors. However, plastic has also become a growing environmental issue due to its petroleum-based (non-biodegradable) baseline. Conscious of the environmental impact, the implementation of open-loop recycling solutions (although more environmentally friendly) were still far from being the holistic solution. More recently, aligning with the circular economy trend, closed-loop plastics recycling initiatives (in which post-consumer plastic is collected, recycled, cleaned and compounded to make new consumer products), addressed the issue definitively. HP Inc's experience in closed-loop recycling with ink cartridges started 16 years ago, but more recently the tech giant established a commitment and challenged itself to expand this process to the hardware space. The plastics closed-loop system is a complex puzzle which requires high focus in all stages including; channel partner relationships, take-back schemes from customers, conscientious consumers and recycling partners, recycling, compounding, molding, product design, qualification and manufacturing. HP joined partners with the same vision to develop of an end-to-end solution. Like any other complex industrial process, the solution must define and scale-up an economically beneficial outcome for all partners involved. Marta's presentation highlights the drivers, challenges, success factors, and the continued learnings of this innovative, groundbreaking process.