As most of you know I have posted about Sony’s Take Back Recycling Program almost a month ago. Recently I have also posted about Sony setting its e-waste dropping centre. After I posted the first article, I received a mail from Mr. Clancy saying he was available for interviews and whether I was interested. Mr. Rick Clancy is senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Sony Electronics Inc. So how could I refuse this offer. The interview was done via email and I was enlightened by Sony’s part in protecting the environment. Anyways hope all of you enjoy it.
Could you elaborate the Sony Take Back Recycling Program? What part of the program does Sony contribute?
Sony Electronics has teamed up with Waste Management to launch the Sony Take Back Recycling Program. The program, which started on Sept. 15, allows consumers across the country to be able to bring any Sony-branded product to any of 75 participating Waste Management recycling centers and have that old or non-working product recycled free of charge. This applies to all Sony-branded products, including Sony Ericsson cellular phones and PlayStation videogame consoles.Other manufacturers’ electronics devices can also be recycled at these centers for a modest fee. Within a year’s time, we expect the number of participating centers to double to 150, with at least one in every state. And eventually, we aim to have a center within 20 miles of 95 percent of the U.S. population.
Why did Sony initiate this program now? Is it because of the sudden concern of climate change or are there any other reason?
As the nation’s leading marketer of consumer electronics products, our management strongly believes that Sony should also be in the forefront of environmental initiatives that demonstrate social responsibility with respect to the design, development, manufacture, usage and disposal of our products. The Sony Take Back Recycling Program is clearly such an initiative.
Also as we become more involved with the massive transition taking place in America from analogue cathode ray tube televisions to flat-panel high-definition TVs — combined with the plethora of other consumer electronics devices that are reaching their end-of-life — we believe that now is the perfect time to take a national initiative along the lines of the Sony Take Back Recycling Program.
Does Sony benefit from this program? If so how?
At Sony, we are focused on taking a leadership role within the consumer electronics industry with respect to environmental responsibility. Our overall goal is to increase the recycling of consumer electronics across the board, regardless of what the product is or who manufactures it.
I am a great Sony fan, but being a concerned customer about the environment, how do I know that there are no side-effects of this program. As in, one of the largest pollution caused by electronic products is toxic waste. Will these wastes be monitored by Sony or will they depend on Waste Management (WM) to do their job.
The products that are returned to the participating Waste Management recycling centers will be broken down to their component materials, such as plastics, metals and glass. These materials will then be resold as commodities to manufacturers of various consumer and industrial products
What benefits do you see in this program for the consumer market?
The biggest benefit is that consumers now have a place to bring their end of life products at no cost to them. They can feel good knowing they are doing the environmentally responsible thing. Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious and Sony is uniquely equipped to help them.
Sony is a multinational corporation. Do you think that other companies will follow what Sony have started?
This program is designed to take back any electronic device from any manufacturer. All Sony-branded electronic products will be recycled at participating Waste Management centers for free. Devices from other manufacturers will also be accepted by Waste Management at the participating facilities, although there will be modest fees. Hopefully, other manufacturers will follow our lead, join the program, and subsidize the cost of their products being recycled so there is no charge for them either. Eventually, we hope this will make the recycling of electronics profitable so that a subsidy is no longer necessary.
We believe this program works for practically all stakeholders, including consumers, manufacturers, retailers and government interests. To this point, we welcome other manufacturers and retailers to join the program.
I have been seeing for the past few years that people are still reluctant to do anything for the environment although there are clear signs of climate change. Do you think, by launching this program that people’s mentally towards the environment will change?
While we would welcome federal legislation so there would be one nationwide approach to this important issue, this does not seem likely in the near future. This is one of the challenges for manufacturers in the U.S. Instead, there are some individual state laws that differ from one another or no state law at all. These different laws make it more challenging for a manufacturer to comply without raising costs. With the Sony Take Back Recycling Program, we are taking individual producer responsibility for end-of-life products with a plan that will have national impact.
The launch date is nearby. Does Sony have an expected figure on the products to be returned for recycling?
The Sony Take Back Recycling Program is an ongoing program and we have set an initial goal to recycle one pound of product for every pound Sony manufactures.
At the moment this program is based only in the US. So what are Sony’s plan in the future? Will they go international with this program?
The Sony Take Back Recycling program will initially be available in the United States. As the program expands, Sony and Waste Management will explore expansion into other regions.
These two men are of a Waste Management factory disassembling tech products. Anyways hope you enjoyed this interview.