Closing the loop – solving POS end of life
In order to comply with current and upcoming Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation brands need to consider all aspects of their retail displays while at the same time considering their own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
As most long-life displays will be made from materials that fall outside of a retailer’s standard recycling processes brands need to consider everything from the source of raw materials used, to the manufacturing process and packaging used so that displays can be recovered from retailers and disassembled for appropriate recycling and disposal.
Retail displays can often be large and heavy and their route to recycling must be planned in advance of installation to ensure that the process is clear to all parties involved. Some of the challenges for the process are detailed below,
- Designing for disassembly – considering modularity, minimal number of materials
- Limits of instore recycling plus the variety of processes in place across retailers
- Route to recycling – many POS manufacturers, including ourselves, will collect units at their End of Life
- Finding suitable local markets to recycle – it is likely that multiple material recycling partners may be required. Recycling is easiest in bulk so wide collaboration is to achieving highest recycling results.
- Accounting for time and cost – The dismantling process may take longer and require more labour than demolition, which can increase the cost and reduce the feasibility of reuse or recycling.
Choosing a Point of Sale partner that designs with diss-assembly in mind is a must. Consideration is given to easy and safe dismantling, separation and identification of materials and components, whilst also keeping functionality and aesthetics at top of mind.
In order that retail displays can be disassembled easily at end of life there are several design considerations that must be addressed,
- Modular components that can be easily assembled and disassembled with simple tools or by hand, and that can be interchanged or replaced for maintenance or added to for range expansion.
- Minimising the number and variety of materials and components that are used in the build, and use materials that are compatible with each other and with common recycling processes.
- Avoid permanent or destructive connections that require cutting, breaking, melting, gluing, welding, or soldering to separate the materials or components, such as nails, rivets, adhesives, sealants, or solder joints.
- Use reversible fixings that can be easily detached without damaging the materials or components, such as screws, bolts, clips, hooks, snaps, magnets, or Velcro.
- Label or mark the materials and components with information about their composition, properties, origin, destination, and disassembly instructions, using symbols and material codes.
- Provide documentation and guidance for the users, owners, operators, maintainers, dismantlers, and recyclers of the product or building on how to disassemble and recycle the materials and components. QR codes are becoming a popular way to direct to detailed instructions.
- Discuss best collaborative process. We recommend a discussion to investigate the optimum ways of working for recovery of units. Calculating the most timely, packaging efficient and mileage efficient way to do this. For example working together with retailers and Field teams units to backfill old Point of Sale displays could avoid separate trips to stores.
This strategy and approach builds on an increasing acknowledgment of the fact that even long-life unitary has a maximum lifespan. Understanding the display’s complete life cycle and making provisions for the reuse of its component parts will ensure that as much of the unit as possible will avoid going to landfill and find a way back into the “reduce, reuse, recycle” loop.
Recovered units can then be refurbished for reuse or repurposed into new items, for example:
- Metal is highly recyclable with much of the steel manufactured still in circulation.
- Wood can be repurposed into other pieces such as desks for schools or used in other industries such as animal bedding How we helped Nutella to recycle their in-store retail pop-up displays – Three Point (threepd.co.uk)
- Most plastics can be recycled into recycled sheets or used to make product packaging.
- Card is commonly recycled at many locations.
For an overview of commonly used materials https://threepd.co.uk/materials-explained/
For additional reading RecyclingResearchReportPermNonMembers2022.pdf (popai.co.uk)
To discuss options for recycling point of sale display units at end of life please contact our Sales Team on 01530 839777 or via email at email@example.com