Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products – Best read

Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products

Category description – Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products includes emissions from the waste disposal and treatment of products sold by the reporting company (in the reporting year) at the end of their life. This category includes the total expected end-of-life emissions from all products sold in the reporting year.

(See section 5.4 of the Scope 3 Standard for more information on the time boundary of scope 3 categories.)

End-of-life treatment methods (e.g., landfilling, incineration, and recycling) are described in category 5 (Waste generated in operations) and apply to both category 5 and category 12. Calculating emissions from category 12 requires assumptions about the end-of-life treatment methods used by consumers. Companies are required to report a description of the methodologies and assumptions used to calculate emissions (see chapter 11 of the Scope 3 Standard).

For sold intermediate products, companies should account for the emissions from disposing of the intermediate product at the end of its life, not the final product.

Overview – Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products

Category 12, End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products, encompasses the management of products after they have reached the end of their useful life or are no longer needed by customers. This category is essential for ensuring environmental responsibility, regulatory compliance, and potentially creating value through the proper disposal, recycling, or repurposing of products. Here’s a comprehensive overview:

Definition:

Category 12, End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products, involves the processes and activities associated with managing products that have reached the end of their useful life or are no longer needed by customers. This includes disposal, recycling, refurbishment, remanufacturing, or other forms of treatment to minimize environmental impact and maximize resource efficiency.

Scope:

  1. Disposal: Proper disposal methods, such as landfilling, incineration, or other waste management processes, in accordance with local regulations and environmental standards.
  2. Recycling: Recovery of materials from end-of-life products for reuse in new products or manufacturing processes, including metals, plastics, glass, and electronics.
  3. Refurbishment: Restoration of used products to a functional state for resale or reuse, often involving repairs, cleaning, and reconditioning.
  4. Remanufacturing: Comprehensive rebuilding of products to original specifications using reclaimed components and materials, extending their lifecycle and reducing resource consumption.
  5. Take-Back Programs: Initiatives that allow customers to return used products to manufacturers or retailers for proper disposal or recycling, often as part of product stewardship or extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs.
  6. Waste-to-Energy: Conversion of waste materials into energy through processes such as incineration or anaerobic digestion, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and minimizing landfill space.
  7. Product Design for End-of-Life: Integration of design features and materials that facilitate disassembly, recycling, or biodegradation at the end of a product’s lifecycle.

Importance:

  1. Environmental Sustainability: Proper end-of-life treatment reduces the environmental footprint of products by minimizing waste generation, conserving resources, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Regulatory Compliance: Compliance with regulations governing waste management, recycling, hazardous materials, and product disposal is essential to avoid fines, penalties, and reputational damage.
  3. Resource Conservation: Recovery and reuse of materials from end-of-life products contribute to resource conservation, energy savings, and the circular economy.
  4. Risk Mitigation: Improper disposal or management of end-of-life products can pose environmental and health risks, as well as legal liabilities for businesses.
  5. Brand Reputation: Adopting responsible end-of-life practices enhances brand reputation and demonstrates corporate social responsibility to customers, investors, and stakeholders.
  6. Cost Reduction: Efficient end-of-life management practices can reduce waste disposal costs, optimize resource utilization, and potentially generate revenue through material recovery and resale.
  7. Innovation Opportunities: End-of-life treatment presents opportunities for innovation in product design, materials science, recycling technologies, and waste management processes.

Challenges:

  1. Complexity of Products: Increasing product complexity, especially in electronics and technology, poses challenges for disassembly, recycling, and material recovery.
  2. Supply Chain Coordination: Coordinating reverse logistics, collection, and transportation of end-of-life products from customers, retailers, and distributors to recycling facilities or disposal sites.
  3. Quality Control: Ensuring the quality and safety of refurbished or remanufactured products to meet customer expectations and regulatory requirements.
  4. Consumer Awareness and Participation: Educating consumers about the importance of proper disposal and recycling practices and encouraging participation in take-back programs.
  5. Economic Viability: Balancing the costs and benefits of end-of-life treatment options, particularly for products with low material value or high recycling costs.
  6. Global Supply Chain Considerations: Managing end-of-life treatment in global supply chains with varying regulatory frameworks, infrastructure capabilities, and cultural attitudes towards waste management.

Technologies and Trends:

  1. Reverse Logistics Software: Tools for optimizing the reverse logistics process, including product collection, transportation, tracking, and inventory management.
  2. Smart Packaging and Labels: Integration of RFID tags, QR codes, or NFC technology to enable traceability and facilitate end-of-life sorting and recycling.
  3. Advanced Recycling Technologies: Innovations in mechanical, chemical, and biological recycling processes to recover valuable materials from complex products and waste streams.
  4. Circular Design Principles: Incorporation of circular economy principles into product design, such as modular construction, material reuse, and easy disassembly.
  5. Product-as-a-Service (PaaS) Models: Shift towards service-based business models where customers pay for product usage rather than ownership, encouraging manufacturers to design for durability, repairability, and reuse.
  6. Blockchain for Traceability: Blockchain technology for transparent and traceable supply chains, authentication of recycled materials, and tracking of carbon emissions throughout the product lifecycle.

Conclusion:

Category 12, End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products, is a critical aspect of sustainable business practices and environmental stewardship. By implementing effective end-of-life management strategies, businesses can minimize waste, conserve resources, reduce environmental impact, and enhance their reputation with customers and stakeholders. Embracing innovation, collaboration across the supply chain, and regulatory compliance are key to addressing the challenges and unlocking the opportunities associated with end-of-life treatment in today’s global economy.

Something else -   Allocating goodwill to cash-generating units

Calculating emissions from end-of-life treatment of sold products

The emissions from downstream end-of-life treatment of sold products should follow the calculation methods in category 5 (Waste generated in operations), with the difference that instead of collecting data on total mass of waste generated in operations, companies should collect data on total mass of sold products (and packaging) from the point of sale by the reporting company through the end of life after use by consumers.

The major difference between calculating upstream and downstream emissions of waste treatment is likely to be the availability and quality of waste activity data. Whereas the reporting company is likely have specific waste type and waste treatment data from its own operations, this information is likely to be more difficult to obtain for sold products.

Although the reporting company may know the product’s components, it may not know how the waste-disposal behavior of consumers and retailers varies across geographic regions.

If the reporting company sells intermediate products, it is required to account for emissions from disposing of the sold intermediate products at the end of their life.

Activity data needed

Companies should collect:

  • Total mass of sold products and packaging from the point of sale by the reporting company to the end-of-life after consumer use (e.g., packaging used to transport products through to the point of retail and any packaging that is disposed of prior to the end-of-life of the final product
  • Proportion of this waste being treated by different methods (e.g., percent landfilled, incinerated, recycled).
Something else -   Key performance indicator

Emission factors needed

Companies should collect:

  • Average waste-treatment specific-emission factors based on all waste treatment types.

Data collection guidance

When collecting data on total waste produced, the reporting company should collect data on the waste type(s) and amounts after it sells the products through to the end-of-life disposal by consumers. This data should include any packaging and product waste. For food and drink items, companies should refer to average proportion of food/drinks wasted. In many cases, total waste will be equal to the total products sold in reporting year. However, if the product is actually consumed (e.g., food and drink) the total waste is likely to be lower, and in other cases, such as products combusted to generate energy, could even be zero.

When collecting data on the proportion of waste treated by different methods, companies may refer to:

  • Company’s own research and internal data on how its products are treated after consumption
  • Specific government directives on waste treatment of certain products (e.g., the European Union’s “Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive”)
  • Industry associations or organizations that have conducted research into consumer disposal patterns of specific products
  • Average data on waste treatment from the point that the products are sold by the reporting company through to the end of life after consumer use

Calculation resources include:

Something else -   Enhancing qualitative characteristic

Calculation formula [12.1] Waste-type-specific method

CO2e emissions from end-of-life treatment of sold products =

sum across waste treatment methods:

(total mass of sold products and packaging from point of sale to end of life after consumer use (kg)

× % of total waste being treated by waste treatment method

× emission factor of waste treatment method (kg CO2e/kg))

.

Example [12.1] Calculating emissions from the end-of-life treatment of sold products

Company A sells paper that is laminated in a way that does not allow recycling. In the reporting period, Company A sold 10,000 tonnes of product. The company conducts consumer research to understand the disposal methods used by end consumers. The company also collects data for emission factors associated with each of the disposal methods for laminated paper products from a life cycle assessment database:

Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products

(total mass of sold products at end of life after consumer use (kg)

× % of total waste being treated by waste treatment method

× emission factor of waste treatment method (kg CO2e/kg))

= (10,000 × 90% × 0.3) + (10,000 × 10% × 1) + (10,000 × 0% × 0) = 3,700 kg CO2e

Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products

Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products

Category 12 End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products

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