E-waste advisory: Consumer electronics suppliers extend conservation initiatives

New Age Electronics is leading the charge among consumer electronics distributors to reduce electronic waste and create a greener supply chain.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff September 26, 2007

New Age Electronics , a supply chain services provider to consumer technology retailers and vendors, is leading the charge among consumer electronics distributors to reduce electronic waste and create a greener supply chain for a more environmentally friendly future.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ), nearly three million tons of consumer electronic waste—including computers and peripherals, televisions, cell phones, and other electronics—were generated in 2003 alone, the latest year for which statistics are available. Experts predict this figure has increased significantly in recent years as consumers continue to replace electronic products at a rapid clip. Many products contain lead as well as other potential toxics, which can be harmful to the environment.
New Age says it is committed to working aggressively with its partners to do its part in creating a greener future. Several New Age customers are devising programs that promote energy-efficient design; develop green manufacturing facilities; make effective use of resources to conserve raw materials and facilitate recycling; and replace potentially harmful substances with non-toxic materials.
However, once these products leave the manufacturer’s floor or outlive their retail shelf life, the responsibility to continue conservation efforts falls into the hands of channel management solutions providers such as New Age, which takes on responsibility for the products serving as both distributors and product managers.
New Age strategies
1. Creative repackaging programs : Through creative repackaging and product bundling programs, distributors can help partners not only increase profitability, but also eliminate waste by finding creative opportunities to move old or returned product back into the retail mix. For instance, products that have outlived their retail shelf life can be paired and packaged with complementary products such as a digital camera and mobile printer to make the offer more attractive for the consumer.
2. Waste-saving refurbishment programs : Distributors also can refurbish products in need of repair, recovering the highest percentage of original parts and accessories possible to reuse in finished goods. By procuring only the parts and accessories needed, distributors can ensure minimal waste is created during the process. The result is fully functional products are returned to retail channels in original full color packaging and with original warranties, thereby assuring quality along with 10-percent to 15-percent lower prices.
3. Conscientious recycling programs : While some waste is inevitable, distributors can ensure scrap units are sent to the recycler, dismantled to separate plastics and metals, and provided to industries that can reuse the materials in production. Similar processes can be employed for paper, cardboard, and polystyrene packaging.
4. Efficient logistics management : Through their expertise in logistics management, distributors can minimize product touch points, which in turn saves on fuel consumption and associated pollution and ultimately aids conservation efforts by helping eliminate damage to the ecosphere. By working with a variety of manufacturers, distributors have the ability to ship an assortment of products and brands to retailers in a single truckload often from a local distribution center.
“New Age understands the importance of creating and implementing consumer electronic conservation programs and we are extremely proud to partner with manufacturers and retailers that are taking an aggressive stand in helping preserve the environment,” says Lee Perlman, CEO and chairman of New Age Electronics. “We feel it is our calling to extend these programs where our customers leave off. We’ve been tapped to fill an important role as it pertains to the distribution and management of these products, and we are fiercely committed to taking creative approaches geared toward keeping these products in use and out of landfills.”

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