Reuse & recycling at HP
In 2012, we achieved a milestone of recycling 2.5 billion pounds of electronic products and supplies since 1987—equivalent to the weight of 45 Statue of Liberty monuments.1
HP aims to provide take-back programs with broad geographical coverage and ensure an environmentally responsible option for processing HP products at the end of their life. We verify the quality of our global recycling network through third-party vendor audits, and we increasingly rely on third-party recycling certifications when available. We continue to evaluate expansion of our product take-back programs into additional countries, but this depends in part on the availability of local recyclers that meet our standards or export regulations that allow for legal transport of materials to recycling facilities in other countries. Additionally, we are striving to capture a larger quantity of e-waste through partnerships with major retailers in some locations.
After a customer returns his or her hardware product, our priority is to determine the best recovery solution for it. When equipment has resale value, we prefer to refurbish and resell it, the option with the lowest environmental impact. When reuse is not viable, we extract as much value as possible by breaking it down and recycling the constituent materials.
Specialist third-party companies provide reuse and recycling programs on our behalf. HP requires that our recyclers process all material according to best practice and in full compliance with relevant regulations. In particular, HP monitors product take-back programs to ensure there is no “leakage” of material to facilities or organizations outside of our approved vendor network. We undertake due-diligence audits of our recycling vendors to ensure compliance with our Supplies recycling standard, Hardware recycling standard, Hardware reuse standard, Policy on export of electronic waste to developing countries, and Supplier code of conduct. HP also requires certification to third-party recycling standards (R2 and e-Stewards) in the many countries where they are available.
Customers return used HP ink and LaserJet toner cartridges to authorized retail locations and other collection sites for recycling through the HP Planet Partners program. Through our “closed loop” recycling process, Original HP ink and LaserJet toner cartridges are reduced to raw materials that can then be used to make new cartridges as well as other metal and plastic products. Over the past two years, HP has shipped 600 million inkjet cartridges containing some recycled plastic from this process.2
HP is increasing recovery of end-of-life products by collaborating with leading retail chains. In 2012, HP and Staples announced a partnership to offer consumers free, convenient, and responsible recycling every day throughout the United States regardless of the brand or purchase location. The program covers a wide range of products, from desktop PCs to tablets and fax machines to digital camcorders. The partnership leverages Staples’ stores and logistics network to collect the devices and consolidate them at its distribution centers and HP’s certified recycler network to process the material responsibly. The recyclers were selected in part for their proximity to Staples distribution centers, reducing transportation and corresponding GHG emissions resulting from the program.
At the same time HP is extending the range of options for returning printer cartridges. In 2012 we added partnerships with OfficeMax and Walmart to our existing arrangement with Staples.
We are working with governments and nongovernmental organizations to improve local recycling capabilities in important emerging markets including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. As these economies grow and demand for electronic products continues to increase, we are focused on expanding HP’s return and recycling programs in these regions. In 2012, HP increased the number of countries and territories in which take-back programs are available from 67 to 69.
Capabilities in developing countries vary widely, with many lacking adequate collection and recycling systems. It is common in the developing world for electronic waste to be collected and treated in an informal economy with inadequate controls to safeguard human health and the environment. As we expand our programs, we work to improve local capabilities and standards. Establishing responsible recycling facilities creates employment in disadvantaged communities while helping protect workers and the environment. A third-party firm audits all potential recyclers to make sure they meet our global standards and policies. We require recyclers to provide plans to address any gaps in their approach identified in the audits.
We have direct relationships with about 75 first-tier reuse and recycling vendors, who in turn manage hundreds of subvendors in their own networks.
We contract Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a third party, to audit our first-tier vendors and ensure they conform to our Hardware recycling and reuse standards covering the storage, handling, and processing of returned electronic equipment, as well as our Policy on export of electronic waste to developing countries and Supplier code of conduct.
For complete information regarding HP’s approach to environmental sustainability in our products and solutions, please download our 2012 Global Citizenship Report. To view data and goals from across our global citizenship efforts, visit the data and goals dashboard.
1Calculation based on weight as reported at www.nps.gov/stli/historyculture/statue-statistics.htm.
2The recycled plastic used in inkjet cartridges also contains recycled plastic from bottles.