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In response to the 2001 Home Appliance Recycling Law, Hitachi is taking part in a cooperative effort among five companies*1 in the same industry to recycle air conditioners, television sets, refrigerators, and washing machines at 19 recycling plants nationwide. In fiscal 2016, we recycled around 59,000 metric tons of the roughly 66,000 tons of end-of-life home appliances we collected.
Hitachi has built its own recycling network of 11 locations in Japan providing services near our customers to collect and recycle such end-of-life products as supercomputers, mainframes, and other computing machines; communication equipment like network devices and telephone switchboards; and information equipment like ATMs.
In the United States, when a customer replaces a large-capacity storage unit with a new model, part of the end-of-use device is cleaned and inspected and resold as a certified Hitachi product.
We collect automobile electric components from dealers and repair shops, disassembling, checking, cleaning and restoring, reassembling, and inspecting them so they can be reused as equipment featuring the same performance as new products.
We are also promoting collection and recycling through recycling networks for medical equipment and such industrial equipment as pumps, motors, distribution boards, transformers, refrigeration equipment, and air conditioners.
Hitachi has developed a waste management system aimed at more efficient processes and reduced compliance risk. In Japan, we visualize the generation and disposal of waste produced at our factories, offices, and contract operations and manage data on waste contractors so that we can keep accurate track of our progress in waste recycling. In fiscal 2016, entries were made to the system regarding waste generated at approximately 2,800 locations in Japan. This information is being put to use in measures to reduce waste volume, improve recycling rates, and enhance the management of waste contractors to counteract the cross-border movement of hazardous waste materials.
We have established a target of raising the e-manifest system registration rate to at least 90% by fiscal 2015. This was achieved in fiscal 2014, and we continued with our efforts in fiscal 2016.
For fiscal 2016, we set a target of a 12% reduction (from a base year of fiscal 2005) for waste and valuables generated per unit, bettering this by achieving a 13% reduction. Every business site is reducing waste through on-site recycling of byproducts and scrap from the production process and efforts to curb use of packing materials during transport. Under the Zero Emission initiative, which seeks to minimize landfill disposal, 98 business sites achieved their zero emission goal*1 as of fiscal 2016.
Hitachi upholds the goal of improving resource efficiency by 50% between fiscal 2010 and 2050. We aim to realize a resource efficient society through the implementation of such conservation measures as using recycled materials in the manufacturing process, reducing or recycling waste, and collecting end-of-use products for recycling.
Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform G Series.
Hitachi Computer Products (America) and Hitachi Data Systems International Distribution Center manufacture and market mass storage systems for use in enterprise computer systems. When customers exchange these systems for newer models, some of the IT equipment is cleaned, retested, and then reused as products with a company warranty. Other, waste-bound products are recycled for their resources. In fiscal 2016 the product recycling volume was 412 metric tons.
These reuse and recycling efforts, together with the company's environmental efforts overall, have been recognized with a Greenovation Award every year since 2011 from the Norman Chamber of Commerce in the company's home city of Norman, Oklahoma.
Since 1994, Hitachi Automotive Systems Engineering has applied the knowledge and understanding gained as a manufacturer of automotive equipment to recycle automotive electrical component collected from dealers and repair shops. A technical system to sort, disassemble, check and differentiate, clean and recondition, reassemble, and test is used to recycle about 60% of the electrical components collected. These components are then sold as products that perform as well as new products. In fiscal 2016 the company received the Award of the Director-General of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry's Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau (for Resources Recirculation Technologies and Systems) in recognition of these efforts over many years.
Slag with concentrated rare earths (left) and pig iron.
Hitachi Metals' Magnetic Materials Company manufactures the rare earth magnets used in motors for automobiles, industrial products, electrical machinery, electronic devices, and other products that demand high efficiency and light weight. When recycling the rare-earth-containing sludge*1 generated during magnet production, the conventional process is to bury and treat it as industrial waste without using the iron contained in residue. There was also the problem of large amounts of acid and alkali required to treat the sludge for recycling.
Hitachi Metals developed a carbothermal reduction method*2 in which sludge is taken as iron ore and enables reuse not only of magnetic rare earth elements but also of iron as pig iron.*3 It also established a resource recycling process that minimizes the use of acid and alkali. In recognition of these efforts, Hitachi Metals received the Rare Metal Recycling Award as part of the fiscal 2016 Awards for Resources Recirculation Technologies and Systems.
Flow of Recycling with the Carbothermal Reduction Method
An RPF manufacturing facility.
Nichiwa Service has developed shared services that consolidate and standardize waste management for the Hitachi Group, using certain plastic, paper, and wood materials that are unsuitable for recycling as the raw material in manufacturing refuse paper and plastic fuel (RPF), a high calorie solid fuel. As an alternative to fossil fuels, RPF contributes to the prevention of global warming with the reduction of CO2 while also promising such effects as extending the life of final disposal sites. In fiscal 2016, about 1,700 metric tons of waste material generated at Hitachi Group business sites were made into RPF.