Headphone maker Skullcandy is enhancing its established upcycling program to encourage increased reuse and recycling of electronics with a goal to eliminate 1 million pounds of e-waste by 2025.
According to the EPA, the generation of electronic goods in the US exceeded 2.7 million tons in 2018, the most recent year of complete data. Only a little more than a million tons of that was recycled, a 38.5% clip. That low number exemplifies the need to find ways to reduce waste, Skullcandy says, and a significant reason it is boosting its upcycling goals.
Skullcandy’s upcycling endeavor, which began in 2019, has prevented more than 458,000 pounds of e-waste from ending up in landfills, the company says, which is equal to 439,216 products. The program takes returned or damaged Skullcandy products from retailers and refurbishes them for further use. The company says products that can’t be upcycled are responsibly recycled.
The EPA says recycling, reusing or donating electronics prevents pollution and carbon emissions because fewer materials for items such as plastics or batteries do not have to be produced again. The energy saved from recycling 1 million laptops, for example, is equivalent to powering 3,500 homes in the US for a year, according to the agency.
Skullcandy’s plan to eliminate e-waste is on top of its pledge to use 100% recycled packaging by the end of this year. Part of that initiative is to reduce package sizes, decreasing how many materials are used as well as lowering the impact of transporting goods. Skullcandy also says it will eliminate the use of plastics entirely by 2023 and shift to using only FSC certified paper products.
Additionally, the company has a partnership with environmental intelligence platform EcoChain, which helps the company analyze the carbon footprint of its manufacturing. One impact of that program is the development of a smaller battery.
Skullcandy also encourages further recycling by letting customers send any type or brand of headphones to the company to be properly recycled, giving them discounts for doing so.