Resource Recycling

Minimizing and Recycling Business Activity-Linked Waste

Fiscal 2020 Objectives Fiscal 2020 Achievements Self-Evaluation
  • Final landfill disposal rate of 0.5% or less
  • Final landfill disposal rate 0.63%
Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2021
  • 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 2020, the amount of waste, etc. generated by the Sharp Group decreased by 2% compared to the previous fiscal year to 67,000 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 5% from the previous fiscal year to 58,000 tons. Furthermore, the final landfill disposal rate remained at 0.63%. 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 0.03%, marking the 20th 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.

  • To shift freight transport from conventional trucking to more environmentally friendly modes of transport, such as rail and shipping.
    Final landfill disposal rate (%) = Amount of landfill disposal ÷ amount of waste, etc. generated x 100.

Amount of Waste, etc.

Amount of Recycling

Waste, etc. by Region (Fiscal 2020)

Final Landfill Disposal Rate

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.

Expanding the Recycling of Used Products

Fiscal 2020 Objectives Fiscal 2020 Achievements Self-Evaluation
  • Improve the quality of recovered iron
  • Introduced equipment to improve the quality of recovered iron
★★
Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2021
  • Improve plastic recycling efficiency
  • 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 17 recycling plants in Japan. In fiscal 2020, Sharp collected 2.386 million units (up 13% 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 70,000 tons (up 11% 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 2020)

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 353 134 891 489 517 2,386
Processed and recycled units Thousand units 356 137 883 483 510 2,371
Processed and recycled weight Tons 14,553 3,020 14,892 28,077 19,897 80,440
Recycled weight Tons 13,764 2,236 12,929 22,798 18,761 70,490
Recycling rate % 94 74 86 81 94
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 efficiency. Additional magnetic separators were introduced in fiscal 2020 to further improve the quality of iron recovered. Collected home appliances are first pulverized by large crushers, after which various separators are used to collect the metal. This time, installing extra magnetic separators increased the opportunities for recovery, which boosted the precision of iron selection (reducing the admixture of impurities). In fiscal 2019, iron selection precision ranged between 95% and 98%, but in fiscal 2020 it was consistently at 98% or higher.

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

Iron recovered by magnetic separator

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 1,750 collection points established for used products. MRM operates in accordance with the laws and regulations of each state and recycled a total of 56,000 tons of used products in fiscal 2020.

  • *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 (the E-Waste Management Rules 2016, amended in 2018) is in place, which imposes extended producer responsibility (EPR) on manufacturers and others. SBI, Sharp’s Indian sales subsidiary, has partnered with a local recycler, 3R Recycler, to carry out the proper disposal of used products. In addition, SBI works with a local NGO, “the Indian Pollution Control Association”, to recover plastic waste and recycle it.

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

Fiscal 2020 Objectives Fiscal 2020 Achievements Self-Evaluation
  • Practical application of recycled flame-retardant polypropylene
  • Pursued the development of technology for the practical application of recycled flame-retardant polypropylene
Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2021
  • Practical application of recycled flame-retardant polypropylene
  • 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.

In fiscal 2020, recycled plastic was also used in air conditioner parts. The amount of use of recycled plastic developed through Sharp’s closed-loop material recycling technology reached 19,000 tons in fiscal 2020 (in cumulative total from fiscal 2001 to 2020).

  • *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

Air Conditioner

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
Air Conditioner PP Condensation cover, motor holder Washing machine spin tub, balancer, other
Vertical louver, interlocking plate Refrigerator vegetable case
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

Developing Recycled-Plastic Material with Added Value

In response to the increasing seriousness of pollution from used plastic, countries are enacting and enhancing various laws and regulations related to plastic recycling. In particular, there is a concerted push to move away from the traditional linear economy, characterized by mass production, mass consumption, and mass disposal, and towards a circular economy, characterized by limited input and consumption of new resources and minimal waste production. In Japan, as well, society’s attitude towards plastic usage has changed significantly, as evidenced by the enactment of the Act on Promotion of Resource Circulation for Plastics*1, which focuses on resource recycling across the entire life cycle of plastic products, making it increasingly important that plastic materials are properly disposed of and recycled.

Against this background, Sharp is pursuing greater recycling of used plastics, not only through horizontal recycling, in which used plastics are made as good as new material and incorporated into the same parts as they were 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 2020, Sharp applied its own technology for rendering plastic flame retardant and improving its durability to develop recycling technology capable of giving strong flame resistance and physical properties coupled with long-term durability to polypropylene recovered from used home appliances. This technology has the potential to change the current situation where metals or expensive engineering plastics*2 are needed to make parts that require high flame retardancy, such as those used around home appliance power switches or heaters. 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 with the development of this recycling technology with the goal of applying it to mass production very soon.

  • *1 This law is focused on comprehensive plastic recycling across the entire life cycle of plastic-containing products, encompassing everything from manufacturer product design and production to waste disposal (enacted June 4, 2021).
  • *2 Plastic with engineered characteristics for mechanical strength and heat resistance.

Used Plastic Recycling Method

Effectively Using Water Resources

Fiscal 2020 Objectives Fiscal 2020 Achievements Self-Evaluation
  • Water intensity: Improve by 20%
    (baseline year: fiscal 2012)
  • Water intensity: Improved by 11%
    (baseline year: fiscal 2012)
Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2021
  • Water intensity: Improved by 20%
    (baseline year: fiscal 2012)
  • Self-evaluation: ★★★ Achieved more than targeted / ★★ Achieved as targeted / ★ Achieved to some extent

Sharp’s Stance on Water Resources

Water resource problems are arising on a worldwide scale with the increase in the world’s population, the economic growth of developing countries, climate change, and other factors. Sharp is striving to make effective use of water resources in line with the environmental conservation guidelines stipulated in Sharp’s Basic Environmental Philosophy, the Sharp Group Charter of Corporate Behavior, and the Sharp Code of Conduct. In particular, Sharp recognizes that securing the water resources necessary for the production of LCDs and other electronic devices is a serious issue that could affect business continuity. That is why Sharp is pursuing the reduced use of new water and an increased use of recycled water.

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

The volume of new water used by the Sharp Group in fiscal 2020 increased by 23% compared to the previous fiscal year to 9.0 million m3 due to gaining new production bases and other factors. The improvement rate of water intensity was 11%, 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* of at least 60%. Moreover, Sharp is dedicated to making effective use of water resources globally, such as reducing the amount of new water used by recycling water discharged from the production process at WSEC, a manufacturing base in China.

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

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

Volume of New Water Used

Water Intensity (Baseline Year: Fiscal 2012)

Water Recycling Rate

Water Used and Drainage by Region (Fiscal 2020)

(m3)

Region Water withdrawal*1 Effluent Amount consumed*3 Amount recycled
Third-party
water*2
Groundwater Total Surface water Sewerage Seawater Groundwater Total
Japan 5,491,912 380,676 5,872,588 2,081,920 369,769 1,651,372 0 4,103,061 1,769,527 16,077,933
Asia 941,473 12,408 953,881 120,257 518,710 0 0 638,967 314,914 103,251
China 2,110,125 7,886 2,118,011 0 1,763,719 0 0 1,763,719 354,292 137,683
North and
South America
11,945 0 11,945 0 11,945 0 0 11,945 0 0
Europe 7,818 0 7,818 0 7,623 0 0 7,623 195 0
Total 8,563,273 400,970 8,964,243 2,202,177 2,671,766 1,651,372 0 6,525,315 2,438,928 16,318,867

Volume of New Water Used by Water Stress Rank*4 (Fiscal 2020)

Volume of New Water Used in Water Stressed Regions*5 (Fiscal 2020)

(m3)

Region Third-
party
water
Ground-water Surface water Seawater Produced
water
Total
Japan 20,241 0 0 0 0 20,241
Asia 845,712 0 0 0 0 845,712
China 359,476 0 0 0 0 359,476
North and
South America
0 0 0 0 0 0
Europe 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1,225,429 0 0 0 0 1,225,429
  • *1 Surface water, seawater, and produced water was 0.
  • *2 Industrial-use water and tap water
  • *3 Water consumption = Water withdrawal – Effluent
  • *4 Under Aqueduct, each region is assigned a water stress score. There are five levels, from rank 1 (low risk) to rank 5 (high risk).
  • *5 Areas with an Aqueduct water stress score of rank 4 or higher
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

Case Study

Recycling Plant Wastewater to Reduce the Amount of New Water Used (China)

At WSEC, a production base in China, large volumes of greywater* are generated when producing pure water for use in the manufacturing process. This greywater was previously treated and disposed of as wastewater. But now WSEC has set up storage tanks for the greywater, which is used in restrooms and air conditioning cooling systems. Thanks to these efforts, WSEC has been able to reduce the consumption of clean water by approximately 63,000 m3 per year.

  • Water that is unfit for drinking but is not harmful to the human body.

Recycling Flow