The Consumer Technology Association® (CTA) today launched the Consumer Technology Circularity Initiative (CTCI), a groundbreaking and voluntary industry initiative to reduce waste, encourage more reuse, enhance recycling, reduce climate impact, and see less disposal of consumer electronics.
Announced on the first day of CES® 2024, CTCI will highlight industry innovations across the lifecycle of consumer technology products. Joining CTA onstage were founding members of the new circularity initiative: Lenovo, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony Electronics Inc.
“The hallmark of the technology industry is innovation. CTA member companies exemplify this and advance the entire industry by advancing a circular economy, seeking to mitigate environmental impacts and offering solutions that enhance the consumer experience to live sustainability,” said Walter Alcorn, VP Environmental Affairs and Industry Sustainability, CTA.
This initiative builds on impactful efforts in the environmental and sustainability space organized by CTA during the past decade, including several multi-stakeholder agreements on energy efficiency and the eCycling Leadership Initiative, focused on pounds of scrap consumer electronics collected for recycling.
The eCycling Leadership Initiative launched in 2011 and the impact to-date includes:
5 billion+ pounds of electronics have been recycled across the United States
$1 billion+ of recycling services provided by the consumer technology industry.
Beyond addressing e-scrap collection and recycling, CTCI addresses climate impacts and product and process innovations for repair, reuse and recycled content, expanding on the EPA’s Waste Management Hierarchy first developed in the 1980s, which led to the “3 Rs” of reduce, reuse recycle.
CTCI founding companies are committed to innovative solutions to reduce the environmental impacts of materials used in consumer tech products and associated climate impacts to help the circular economy become a reality:
Lenovo is transitioning to a circular economy through innovations in its supply chain, product design and services. Rather than focusing on making a single product line sustainable, Lenovo is holistically integrating closed loop recycled plastic (plastic from electronics) into a wide range of products. In 2022, Lenovo expanded the use of closed loop recycled plastic to almost 300 products. By 2025/26, Lenovo will have enabled the recycling and reuse of 800 million pounds of end-of-life products since 2005 (cumulative total).
LG Electronics is pursuing several major circularity initiatives as key elements of its broader sustainability strategy. For example, LG is expanding the use of recycled plastics in 19 product categories. LG has set a target to use a cumulative 600,000 tons of recycled plastics in products by 2030 (from 2021). LG’s closed-loop recycling process reapplies waste from recycled products into new products. In packaging, LG has developed cushioning materials containing 50% waste polystyrene while expanding use of recycled vinyl.
Panasonic has recently issued its new Group-wide Circular Economy Policy focusing on several key circularity principles such as maximizing the product lifetime, minimizing the use of materials, and extending the use of recycled and renewable materials. Going beyond its historically strong efforts in material recycling, Panasonic has started to explore various other circular business models based on modular product design, subscription models, shared use, or refurbished consumer product sales.
Samsung sees resource circularity as essential to its sustainability vision and is a lens for innovation. In the US alone Samsung collects an average of 100 million pounds of consumer e-scrap per year – and that’s only 10% of what we recycle globally. In addition to reusing metals and glass, more than 14% of all plastics used are from recycled materials and we are aiming to apply recycled resin to 50% of plastic parts used in our products by 2030 and to all plastics parts by 2050.
Sony Electronics Inc., under its Road to Zero environmental plan, is on the path to eliminating plastic packaging from newly designed small products using alternative materials such as paper and plant-based materials by the end of this fiscal year March 31, 2024. It is also working on increasing the use of recycled plastics to reduce virgin plastic use in products by 10% by the fiscal year 2025, ending March 31, 2026, compared to the 2018 baseline on a global basis.
CTA thanked the companies that are stepping up to make the circular economy a reality. During the coming year, CTA will collaborate with third party validators to recognize at CES 2025 the cutting edge innovations that enhance circularity.
For more information, visit CTA.tech or contact Walter Alcorn at walcorn@CTA.tech.