Policy & principle
Samsung Electronics supports the concept of Individual Producer Responsibility (IPR), and understands that this is a critical mechanism to incentivize manufacturers to make better products and dramatically reduce the level of WEEE arising through traditional waste disposal options such as landfill and incineration.
The company has been engaged at the highest levels of industry and government discussions on whether IPR is attainable, and if so, how. Yet still, even the most pro-active companies, with mature voluntary internal take-back schemes and years of experience, cannot produce workable proposals that are feasible for all producers and governments, financially, logistically or environmentally.
We believe several challenges must first be overcome in order to make true IPR possible and effective, and we will continue to push for these changes:
- Firstly, the ability to correctly identify the legal "Producer" of collected WEEE, so that financial responsibility can be assigned. Current technology may allow products to be digitally marked with "Producer" details, but much development is still needed to bring technologies like RFID up to a point where tags are durable enough to survive for the lifetime of the product and still retain their data.
- In parallel, standardization work is needed to agree on a common format for the data to be held by such RFID tags, and equipping Europe's network of collection points and recyclers with the same reading equipment connected to a central database.
- Also, currently little incentive is given under Regional or National WEEE laws for a Producer to voluntarily implement an IPR model for all products. Incentives should be provided for Producers choosing to do more than the legally required minimum.
- Internal organization. Without a direct financial link between a given product design and the costs of EOL management, IPR will not cause the necessary step-changes in design and manufacturing to reduce recycling costs or drive better efficiency and innovation in take-back schemes.
- Changing behavior in disposing of waste, and also contributing financially to those who must deal with their waste.
Samsung is actively engaged with NGOs, academics and industry partners in projects that are looking at how IPR can be operationalized. We also lobby European and national authorities to ensure that the appropriate legal framework is in place to facilitate IPR.