CSR / Environment

Resource Recycling

Minimizing and Recycling Business Activity-Linked Waste

Fiscal 2019 Objectives Fiscal 2019 Achievements Self-Evaluation
  • Final landfill disposal rate of 0.5% or less
  • Final landfill disposal rate 0.6%
Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2020
  • Final landfill disposal rate of 0.5% or less
  • Self-evaluation: ★★★ Achieved more than targeted / ★★ Achieved as targeted / ★ Achieved to some extent

Curbing the Amount of Waste, etc. Generated by the Sharp Group

Sharp has been working to reduce waste and to recycle as much of it as possible in an effort to contribute to building a resource-recycling society. In fiscal 2019, the amount of waste, etc. generated by the Sharp Group decreased by 10% compared to the previous fiscal year to 68,000 tons, thanks to efforts such as transferring manufacturing to more efficient plants and changing the packaging material used in shipping.

Additionally, the amount of recycling fell by 13% from the previous fiscal year to 62,000 tons. Furthermore, the final landfill disposal rate remained at 0.6%. In Japan, as a result of continuously advancing efforts, such as recycling waste and waste liquids and turning them into valuable resources, the final landfill disposal rate was 0.01%, marking the 19th consecutive year of achieving zero discharge to landfills* since fiscal 2001. Going forward, Sharp will strengthen waste reduction efforts at overseas bases and aim to achieve zero discharge to landfill on a global scale.

  • Sharp defines “zero discharge to landfill” as a final landfill disposal rate of less than 0.5%.
    Final landfill disposal rate (%) = Amount of landfill disposal ÷ amount of waste, etc. generated x 100.

Amount of Waste, etc.

Final Landfill Disposal Rate

Waste, etc. by Region (Fiscal 2019)

Amount of Recycling

Case Study

Reducing Industrial Waste by Building a New Transfer Line for Alkaline Wastewater

Sharp’s Kameyama Plant (Kameyama, Mie Prefecture) strives to reduce industrial waste from its LCD production process. Alkaline wastewater is generated constantly during regular operation and in particularly large volumes during maintenance of the production equipment. In fiscal 2019, a new transfer line reaching the evaporator was built from the large storage tank to keep the alkaline wastewater during maintenance. This has enabled the entire volume of alkaline wastewater to undergo the evaporation process, resulting in a reduction of 120 tons of it per year.

Alkaline Wastewater Treatment Process

Case Study

Reducing Industrial Waste through Introduction of a Solder Recovery Machine

Sharp’s Malaysian production base SMM disposes of solder waste from the production process as industrial waste. SMM introduced a solder recovery machine in fiscal 2019 and began recycling the recovered solder waste. This has resulted in a 75% reduction of solder waste disposal as well as in solder-related cost savings.

Solder recovery machine

Appropriate Storage and Management of PCB Wastes

In Japan, Sharp properly stores and manages waste PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) in accordance with the Act on Special Measures Concerning Promotion of Proper Treatment of PCB Wastes. Sharp is on track to finish treating PCB waste to make it harmless by the legally set March 31, 2027 deadline.

Drums containing waste PCB

Unloading waste PCB

Expanding the Recycling of Used Products

Fiscal 2019 Objectives Fiscal 2019 Achievements Self-Evaluation
  • Recycle waste refrigerator parts into valuable resources
  • Recycled door gaskets
★★
Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2020
  • Improve the quality of recycled (recovered) material
  • Self-evaluation: ★★★ Achieved more than targeted / ★★ Achieved as targeted / ★ Achieved to some extent

Recycling 4 Kinds of Home Appliances in Japan (Air Conditioners, TVs, Refrigerators, and Washing Machines)

As a member of the B Group*1 for home appliance recycling, Sharp has constructed—and is operating—a highly efficient recycling system consisting of 19 recycling plants in Japan. In fiscal 2019, Sharp collected 2.102 million units (up 12% over the previous fiscal year) of the four types of appliances covered by the Home Appliance Recycling Act. The processed and recycled weight amounted to 63,000 tons (up 6% over the previous fiscal year). For all four appliance types, the B Group’s rate of recycling exceeded the legally stipulated levels.

  • *1 The B Group consists of Sharp Corporation, Sony Corporation, Hitachi Global Life Solutions, Inc., Fujitsu General Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, and other companies.

Sharp Corporation’s Recycling Results for 4 Home Appliance Types (Fiscal 2019)

Note: All figures are rounded off to the nearest whole number.

  Unit Air
Conditioners
CRT
TVs
Flat-Panel
TVs
Refrigerators/
Freezers
Washing Machines/
Dryers
Total
Units collected from designated collection sites Thousand units 324 135 713 459 469 2,102
Processed and recycled units Thousand units 318 133 682 442 463 2,041
Processed and recycled weight Tons 13,043 3,008 12,074 26,393 17,863 72,385
Recycled weight Tons 12,301 2,228 10,506 21,253 16,716 63,006
Recycling rate % 94 74 87 80 93
Legally required recycling rate % 80 55 74 70 82

Toward Making Better Use of Resources

Sharp and Kansai Recycling Systems Co., Ltd.*2 have joined forces to make effective use of resources and to improve recycling efficienc.In fiscal 2019, we focused on improving the recycling rate of refrigerators by recycling waste refrigerator door gaskets, which had been disposed of as waste before, into valuable resources.A door gasket is a tube-shaped resin (PVC*3) seal with a magnet inside. A newly installed special fine shredder has enabled us to break door gaskets into small pieces, which are then magnetically sorted. After separation, the resin and magnet can be treated as two different recycled materials. In fiscal 2019, Kansai Recycling Systems recycled approximately 72 tons of door gaskets into valuable materials while successfully reducing waste disposal costs.

  • *2 A consumer electronics recycling company established in Japan with joint investment from Sharp, Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, and four other companies.
  • *3 Polyvinyl chloride

Recycled resin (left) and magnet (right)

Reusing and Recycling Copiers and MFPs in Japan

Sharp is reusing and recycling copiers and MFPs collected both through Sharp distribution channels and through common industry channels. The company is also collecting used toner cartridges and remanufacturing them to the same quality standard of new products, thus assuring that customers will always get the same high quality. Sharp designs its toner cartridges for easy reuse and recycling. This ensures durability and reduces the amount of time needed to reprocess used cartridges.

Recycling Used Products Overseas

< North America >

In 2007, Sharp’s American manufacturing and sales subsidiary SEC (based in New Jersey) established MRM*1 to manage recycling of AV products. Growing nationwide efforts have seen a total of 1,700 collection points established for used products. MRM operates in accordance with the laws and regulations of each state and recycled a total of 58,500 tons of used products in fiscal 2019.

  • *1 Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company, LLC is a joint venture with Panasonic Corporation of North America and Toshiba America Consumer Electronics, LLC.

< Europe >

The EU WEEE Directive*2 (2012/19/EU) stipulates that the manufacturer is responsible for collecting and recycling products shipped within the EU. Each Sharp European sales company collaborates with established recycling entities in the EU sales region to meet this requirement. Efforts are also made to reduce the volume of landfill waste by taking into account regulations governing packaging materials and batteries.

  • *2 Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive

< Vietnam >

In Vietnam, the introduction of a recycling law in 2017 has obliged manufacturers and importers to establish a collection scheme for products sold within the country. Sharp’s Vietnamese sales subsidiary SVN (based in Ho Chi Minh City) collects used products at collection points established in Vietnam and ensures they are processed appropriately by licensed recyclers for proper disposal.

< India >

In India, a recycling law (E-Waste Management Rules 2016) was enforced by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in 2016 (and revised in 2018), which imposed extended producer responsibility on manufacturers and other parties. SBI, Sharp’s New Delhi-based sales subsidiary, has partnered with the Indian Pollution Control Association, an NGO, to carry out the proper disposal of used products.

Environmental Technologies That Contribute to a Sustainable, Recycling-Based Society

Fiscal 2019 Objectives Fiscal 2019 Achievements Self-Evaluation
Develop technology for the practical application of recycled flame-retardant polypropylene Established recycling technology for giving well-balanced properties suitable as materials of home appliances (flame retardancy, physical properties, moldability, etc.)
Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2020
  • Complete the development of technology for the practical application of recycled flame-retardant polypropylene and its application to commercial products
  • Self-evaluation: ★★★ Achieved more than targeted / ★★ Achieved as targeted / ★ Achieved to some extent

Expanding Closed-Loop Plastic Material Recycling Technology

In recycling materials, such as when end-of-life plastic is reused to make new products, the open-loop material recycling scheme is commonly adopted. It involves reusing recycled materials to make things like daily necessities and sundries on the assumption that these goods are disposed of as municipal waste after use.

As opposed to this type of recycling, Sharp and Kansai Recycling Systems Co., Ltd.*1 jointly developed closed-loop plastic material recycling technology with a view to making better use of finite resources and reducing waste. This technology enables the repeated recovery of plastic from used consumer electronics products as well as the reuse of that plastic in parts of new consumer electronics products. The technology has been in practical use since fiscal 2001, when the Act on Recycling of Specified Kinds of Home Appliances (Home Appliance Recycling Act) was enacted in Japan.

Sharp has been striving to make more plastic recyclable through the development of new technologies. These include a technology for recovering high-purity PP (polypropylene) from mixed plastic parts and parts that contain metal; a technology for improving the properties of recovered PP/HIPS*2 and PC+ABS*3 materials so that their quality is on a par with that of virgin materials; a technology that gives materials added value by imparting properties such as flame retardancy, weather resistance, and an antibacterial property, with the aim of expanding applications for recycled plastic; and a quality-control technology for ensuring optimal quality. Thanks to the development and introduction of these technologies that integrate everything from recovery to quality control, Sharp has been able to establish closed-loop material recycling to produce high-grade recycled plastic.

The amount of use of recycled plastic developed through Sharp’s closed-loop material recycling technology reached 18,000 tons in fiscal 2019 (in cumulative total from fiscal 2001 to 2019).

  • *1 A consumer electronics recycling company established in Japan with joint investment from Sharp, Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, and four other companies.
  • *2 High-impact polystyrene (general-purpose polystyrene [GPPS] given impact resistance by adding rubber).
  • *3 A polymer alloy of polycarbonate and acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene (a resin given new properties as a result of mixing in several types of polymers).

Amount of Recycled Plastic Used (Cumulative)

Recycling Plastic Recovered from the 4 Types of Home Appliances

  • *1 Blending multiple types of resins uniformly and finely dispersed into one another at the molecular level.
  • *2 A resin given new properties as a result of mixing in several types of resins.

Examples of Recycled Plastic Use

Refrigerator

Washing machine

Car Plasmacluster Ion generator

Handheld device (Handy Terminal) charger

Product Recycled Plastic Part Source
Refrigerator PP Divider Refrigerator vegetable case
Duct cover Refrigerator vegetable case
Handgrips Washing machine top plate, outer cabinet, other
Evaporator cover Washing machine spin tub, balancer, other
Flame-retardant PS Electrical box Flat-panel TV back cabinet
Washing Machine PP Washing tub Washing machine tub
Car Plasmacluster Ion generator Flame-retardant PC + ABS Internal parts Flat-panel TV back cabinet
Handheld device (Handy Terminal) charger Flame-retardant PC + ABS Charger Flat-panel TV back cabinet
Case Study

Sharp’s Closed-Loop Material Recycling of Used Home Appliances Receives Judging Panel Chair Prize (Award of Excellence) in 2nd EcoPro Awards

Sharp’s closed-loop material recycling of used home appliances received the Judging Panel Chair Prize (award of excellence) in the 2nd EcoPro Awards. This commendation program is organized by the Japan Environmental Management Association for Industry’s EcoPro Awards Secretariat and sponsored by MOF, MAFF, METI, MLIT, and MOE*. Formerly known as the Eco Products Awards, the program was renewed in fiscal 2018 to adapt to socioeconomic changes while taking over the philosophy and accomplishments of the previous scheme. The EcoPro Awards are bestowed in recognition of products, services, technologies, solutions, and business models that incorporate concrete, outstanding eco-friendly features and that are highly regarded by businesses, consumers, investors, and market players in the Japanese market. The program is aimed at accelerating the development and diffusion of such excellent initiatives and contributing to a sustainable society through commendation in view of shifts in socioeconomic conditions, including economic globalization, enactment of the Paris Agreement, and the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sharp’s closed-loop material recycling of used home appliances was found to be excellent for the use of original technology for stabilizing the quality of recycled materials as well as for contribution to cost-effectiveness against the backdrop of growing awareness of the need to reuse more plastic in society.

  • Japan’s Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), and Ministry of the Environment (MOE)

Award certificate and Trophy

Developing Recycled-Plastic Material with Added Value

In response to the increasing seriousness of pollution from used plastic, the world has embarked on numerous initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).*1 Countries are making laws regarding the recycling of used plastic and strengthening restrictions on importing plastic waste. In Japan, systems are gradually being put in place for recycling used plastics, with the Plastic Resource Recycling Strategy*2 formulated and the Circular Economy Vision 2020*3 announced by the government. The social situation surrounding used plastic has drastically changed as it becomes increasingly important to properly dispose of and recycle the material.

Against this background, Sharp is working on new initiatives toward creating more uses for recycled plastics, not only through horizontal recycling, in which recovered plastics are made as good as new material and used in the same parts as originally used, but also through upgrade recycling, in which the recycled plastic is given added value with flame retardancy, weather resistance, or high stiffness.

In fiscal 2019, by applying the basic technology for rendering plastic flame retardant, Sharp established recycling technology for giving well-balanced properties (flame retardancy, physical properties, moldability, etc.) to polypropylene (PP) recovered from used refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners to make it suitable as a material for home appliance parts. This technology has the potential to change the current situation where metals or expensive engineering plastics*4 are indispensable for making parts requiring high flame retardancy, such as those used around the power switch or heater. With the practical application of this technology, recycled plastics can be used as alternate materials on such parts, creating promise for lighter and cheaper products that are also more environmentally conscious.

Sharp will steadily move ahead developing technology for rendering recycled plastic durable enough to be used in home appliance parts and technology for producing such plastics with the goal of applying them to mass production very soon.

  • *1 1 Adopted by the United Nations in 2015, the SDGs are a set of 17 goals for the sustainable development of society to be achieved by 2030.
  • *2 Formulated on May 31, 2019 by the Japanese government, it aims to address a wide range of issues, such as restrictions on resources and waste, ocean plastic, global warming, and restrictions in Asian countries on the importing of waste. The strategy’s basic principle is “3Rs + Renewable.”
  • *3 Released on May 22, 2020 by the Japanese government, this document presents basic future directions of policies for a circular economy.
  • *4 Plastic with engineered characteristics for mechanical strength and heat resistance.

Used Plastic Recycling Method

Effectively Using Water Resources

Fiscal 2019 Objectives Fiscal 2019 Achievements Self-Evaluation
Water intensity: Improve by 20%
(baseline year: fiscal 2012)
Water intensity: Improved by 23%
(baseline year: fiscal 2012)
★★★
Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2020 Water intensity: Improve by 20%
(baseline year: fiscal 2012)
  • Self-evaluation: ★★★ Achieved more than targeted / ★★ Achieved as targeted / ★ Achieved to some extent

Sharp Group Reducing the Amount of New Water Used and Using More Recycled Water

Sharp is striving to make effective use of water resources by reducing the amount of new water (i.e., water from the water supply system) it uses and by increasing the use of recycled water. The volume of new water used by the Sharp Group in fiscal 2019 decreased by 14% compared to the previous fiscal year to 7.3 million m3 due to factors such as consolidating production bases. The improvement rate of water intensity was 23%, compared to the baseline year of fiscal 2012.

To minimize the effects on business continuity of the risk of water shortages, Sharp assesses water risk at its plants using the Aqueduct assessment tool developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI). The Kameyama Plant (Kameyama, Mie Prefecture, Japan) and the Mie Plant (Taki District, Mie Prefecture, Japan) require a large amount of water in the production process for LCDs. All of the water discharged from the production process is collected and reused via a closed-loop recycling system adopted at both plants. Through measures such as this, the Sharp Group is maintaining a recycling rate*1 of at least 60%.

Looking ahead, Sharp will pursue further water-use efficiency and boost production efficiency in accordance with business expansion.

  • *1 Recycling rate = Amount recycled ÷ (amount of new water + amount recycled)

Volume of New Water Used

Water Intensity (Baseline Year: Fiscal 2012)

Volume of New Water Used by Water Stress Rank*2 (Fiscal 2019)

Water Recycling Rate

  • *2 Under Aqueduct, each region is assigned a water stress score. There are five levels, from rank 1 (low risk) to rank 5 (high risk).

Water Used and Drainage by Region (Fiscal 2019)

(m3

Region Water Used Drainage
Industrial-use water Tap water Ground Water Water reused Total Sewerage Freshwater area Seawater area Total
Japan 3,972,573 540,815 264,272 14,790,457 19,568,117 452,920 993,025 1,452,255 2,898,200
Asia 0 919,180 14,629 71,137 1,004,946 485,514 150,905 0 636,419
China 0 1,546,693 4,893 123,150 1,674,736 1,244,441 0 0 1,244,441
North and South America 0 7,432 0 0 7,432 7,432 0 0 7,432
Europe 0 8,266 0 0 8,266 8,016 0 0 8,016
Total 3,972,573 3,022,386 283,794 14,984,744 22,263,497 2,198,323 1,143,930 1,452,255 4,794,508
Case Study

Closed-Loop Water Recycling System

The Mie Plant (Taki District, Mie Prefecture) has adopted a closed-loop water recycling system to repeatedly recycle the large amount of water used for the production of LCDs. The water discharged from the production process contains chemicals that must not be released from the plant untreated. All of this water is collected and goes through steps such as biofiltration (the natural decomposition of chemicals using microorganisms) and filter filtration, before being purified with dedicated equipment. The resulting water is used repeatedly in production.

Closed-Loop Water Recycling Flow