#3 -Programs in the 21st century should measure their success by how much of their recycled materials are actually used in the production of new products.
Most recycling programs today were designed 20-30 years ago by local or state governments. These programs were designed without manufacturer participation, and that’s a big problem. It’s a new day with solar and other new “clean” technologies entering the market.
These state of the art technologies and complex products should require manufacture participation and state of the art recycling laws. Recycling laws adopted by solar and other clean tech industries should have extended producer responsibility. These programs should go beyond collection goals (the current measure of success).
Programs in the 21st century should measure their success by how much of their recycled materials are actually used in the production of new products. Solar companies that develop product takeback programs that do not intend to use the recycled materials in the production of their new products should be able to guarantee that they can be used in the production of other new products.
Solar companies that depend on rare earth metals or hazardous substances such as cadmium or indium should create advanced closed loop recycling systems in which the materials can actually be used by the same company to manufacture new products.