A manufacturer and a California processor are working together to process returned audio equipment for reuse and recycling.
Skullcandy, which sells headphones, earbuds and speakers, launched a program with San Diego-based e-scrap company Cali Resources. Since the program launched in April, the partners have refurbished 34,000 devices for resale back into the domestic market.
Headquartered in Park City, Utah, Skullcandy consolidates its products returned from retail stores at a facility in Kentucky, explained Dylan Priest, director of global sourcing for Skullcandy. From there, the company ships them to Cali Resource’s facility, sending a truckload every month or two. Online returns are sent straight to Cali Resources, he said.
At Cali Resources, staff members plug the devices into an automated system, supplied by Skullcandy, to test them, said Angela Manzano, director of sales at Cali Resources. Priest said the automated system checks sound quality and battery power/current. For reusable devices, staff will conduct light refurbishment work, including changing some mechanical parts but not replacing batteries or other electrical components. The process averages less than seven minutes.
Cali Resources routes Skullcandy devices that can’t be resold into its recycling stream, removing batteries before shredding the equipment for commodities recovery. Priest said the way Skullcandy has designed its products to date has limited the ability to refurbish and repair them, but the company will take design for reuse into account for future products.
Refurbished devices are sold to U.S. consumers, with a portion of the sale proceeds going to Protect Our Winters (POW), a climate advocacy group for the winter sports community. Refurbished products are labeled with an “Upcycled For POW” sticker.
The U.S. program helps Skullcandy provide another quality check on its products, allowing the company to identify manufacturing defects, Priest noted.
According to a press release, the program will expand to Europe in 2020.
Priest said the Cali Resources partnership is just the beginning of Skullcandy’s plans in the remanufacturing and recycling realm.
“This first part with Cali is kind of step one of the project to recycle and refurbish products,” he said. “And then from there, how do we expand this through the whole organization.”
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