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Recycle electronic grooming devices with Panasonic's new takeback program

An electric personal care item sits on a bathroom counter
A Panasonic MultiShape Panasonic

At the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Panasonic launched the Take Back for Tomorrow program to promote the recycling of certain consumer electronic devices. The pilot program will start with electronic personal care devices such as shavers and trimmers, which represent a huge opportunity to recycle components that would otherwise end up in landfills.

Over 88 million Americans use an electric shaver or trimmer. Most of these are destined for landfills, wasting an opportunity to recycle the batteries, metals, and other materials trapped in the devices. Panasonic's program aims to start diverting this e-waste to an important input stream for a more circular supply chain – and pay consumers to do it.

To participate, an owner of an electric or battery shaver or trimmer signs up at Panasonic's website. Panasonic covers the costs for shipping the end-of-life product with partner ERI. The company generates a pre-paid label for consumers to easily pack and ship the device at their convenience for recycling.

Panasonic aims to advance circularity within its U.S. supply chain where components from its consumer electronics, starting with personal care devices, are recycled by ERI. All lithium-ion batteries in these devices are sent to Redwood Materials which will then recycle and remanufacture metals into critical anode and cathode components for Panasonic's electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Redwood is creating a closed-loop, domestic supply chain for lithium-ion batteries across the collection, refurbishment, recycling, refining, and remanufacturing of sustainable battery materials. Both companies recently announced that recycled cathode active materials from Redwood will be used in lithium-ion batteries to be manufactured at Panasonic's new EV battery facility under construction in De Soto, Kansas, starting in 2025.

ERI's nationwide footprint helps reduce shipping and make the program more carbon efficient. The companies are joined by MRM, which will help manage the overall program including recycling coordination and recycler auditing to ensure a safe, responsible recycling program that contributes to the companies' shared sustainability goals.

"We are proud to partner with ERI, Redwood Materials, and MRM on this pilot program to help save personal care products from landfills." said Walter Taffarello, Director of Appliance and Beauty Merchandise, Panasonic. "Disassembly and then recycling or reusing all the parts of end-of-life products is essential to protecting natural resources. Together, we can work toward a more sustainable, circular future where nothing is wasted but rather repurposed for another use."

"It is an honor to be working with Panasonic, Redwood Materials, and MRM on such an innovative and consumer-friendly program," said John Shegerian, Chairman and CEO of ERI. "The work we will be doing will prevent household electronics from ending up in landfills, diverting them back into the circular economy, while providing a convenient way for people to do the right thing for the planet."

Individuals who participate and send in an eligible device will receive 30 percent off the purchase of a new Panasonic MultiShape device.

The MultiShape itself is an example of the company's commitment to sustainability, and an example of its Panasonic GREEN IMPACT initiative coming to life in its product design. Panasonic MultiShape is the first integrated grooming system on the market. Its modular design is centered around a "base unit" handle containing the battery and motor that powers an array of interchangeable attachments, including a variety of trimmer, shaver, and toothbrush options.

A single MultiShape can replace multiple independent electronic devices, representing a more sustainable choice compared to using several electronic devices - giving people the chance to eliminate duplication of motors, rechargeable batteries, and power adaptors. MultiShape is also designed for durability with a long lifespan, reducing waste compared to disposable grooming products. In the U.S. it comes in 100 percent recyclable corrugated packaging, and features a toiletry bag made from 100 percent recycled rPET nylon.

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