Recycling-oriented Manufacturing

With swift economic growth advancing worldwide and bringing heightened attention to concerns over resources, the sourcing of new resources and materials not only significantly impact the environment, but mineral resource depletion and material pricing run-up have also become issues.

To address these concerns, and as a responsibility of a manufacturer that uses a large volume of resources, Panasonic has been propelling Recycling-oriented Manufacturing under the theme of recycling resources since 2010, placing it as an important issue along with CO2 emissions reduction.Under the Green Plan 2018, which was revised in 2016, increase in the usage amount of recycled resin and higher factory waste recycling rates continue to be promoted, and realization of recycling-oriented manufacturing is being further implemented through efforts such as expanding the creation of recycling-oriented products. Recycled resin, in particular, is being promoted with a target figure to ensure increase in usage.

Recycling-oriented Manufacturing has three aspects under this concept, which are to minimize the amount of total resources used and maximize the amount of recycled resources, aim towards Zero Waste Emissions by reducing our landfill disposal of waste from production activities, and recycle used products.

We have been working on the weight reduction and downsizing of products to minimize the total resources used, and are continuing to increase resource collection through introduction of new recycling technologies and systems to expand the usage of recycled resources.

Furthermore, by reducing the amount of factory waste and thoroughly recycling resources from waste, we are working to eliminate the amount of waste treated in landfills to as close to zero.

In addition to utilizing the resources that were previously wasted across the entire production process, we have established a process where resources are recovered from used products, recycled into products, and further delivered to customers, to realize sustainable business activities throughout the product life cycle.

We use many kinds of resources, including iron (27% of total resources used) and plastic (10% of total resources used), due to our wide range of products and businesses, from home appliances, components such as semiconductors and batteries, to housing. In Recycling-oriented Manufacturing, it is important to promote the reduction of total resources used, and at the same time develop a recycling process according to the specific characteristics of each resource for expansion of our usage of recycled resources.

Furthermore, we clarify recycled resource utilization issues by identifying the volume of each type of resource used across the Panasonic Group. For example, in the case of recycled resin, we used approx. 15,900 tons of recycled resin in our products in fiscal 2017 by identifying the characteristics required in the materials to be used, securing a stable supply, researching how to recycle it in production, and developing new recycling technologies. Total usage of recycled resin since fiscal 2015 has reached approx. 50,600 tons. Although we have achieved the target under the Green Plan 2018, we will continue to work on further reducing total resources used and maximizing utilization of recycled resources, to maintain and improve our recycled resource utilization ratio.

In addition, as for the recycling rate of waste at factories, we had traditionally set different targets for Japan and countries outside Japan according to the relevant local infrastructures. However, with the awareness of the importance of zero waste emission activities, we have set a globally standardized target since fiscal 2011 and are taking steps to improve the standard level of waste recycling across the entire Group. The factory waste recycling rate*1 was 99.0% for fiscal 2016 against the target of 99% or more in fiscal 2019.(See Factory Waste Management - Zero Waste Emissions)

*1 Factory waste recycling rate = Amount of resources recycled/(Amount of resources recycled + Amount of landfill)

Of the total resources used in fiscal 2017, iron accounts for 27%, plastics for 10%, construction materials for 10%, wooden materials 47%, metals other than iron for 6%, paper and cardboard for 5% and others for 35%.
Use of recycled resin has grown from 16,000 tons in fiscal 2015, to 18,700 tons in fiscal 2016 and 15,900 tons in fiscal 2017. Cumulative totals from fiscal 2015 are 34,700 tons to 2016 and 50,600 tons to fiscal 2017.