Resource Recycling

Minimizing and Recycling Business Activity-Linked Waste

Fiscal 2021 Objectives Fiscal 2021 Achievements Self-Evaluation Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2022
  • Final landfill disposal rate of 0.5% or less
  • Final landfill disposal rate 0.50%
★★
  • 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 circular economy. In fiscal 2021, the amount of waste, etc. generated by the Sharp Group increased by 16% compared to the previous fiscal year to 78,000 tons, due to disposal of old equipment and expansion of production. The amount of recycling increased by 12% from the previous fiscal year to 65,000 tons. The final landfill disposal rate was 0.50%, meeting our target. 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 21st 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.

Amount of Recycling

Waste, etc. by Region (Fiscal 2021)

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 2021 Objectives Fiscal 2021 Achievements Self-Evaluation Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2022
  • Improve plastic recycling efficiency
  • Separating mixed plastic from urethane led to an increase in the amount of mixed plastic recovered
★★
  • Pursue recovery of motor core parts by 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 18 recycling plants in Japan. In fiscal 2021, Sharp collected 2.345 million units (down 2% 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 approximately 70,000 tons (down 1% over the previous fiscal year). For all four appliance types, Sharp’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 2021)

Note: All figures are rounded down 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 320 107 942 472 502 2,345
Processed and recycled units Thousand units 322 110 970 482 510 2,397
Processed and recycled weight Tons 13,144 2,455 15,742 27,994 20,196 79,531
Recycled weight Tons 12,492 1,823 13,603 22,615 19,013 69,546
Recycling rate % 95 74 86 80 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. The urethane insulation material in refrigerators is shipped for use as fuel, but it contained plastic that had not been fully separated out. To address this, we introduced an additional air separator. By finely controlling wind power, we were able to sort and recover the plastic. This allowed more plastic to be recycled, boosting overall resource recycling. It also boosted the quality of the urethane used as fuel by minimizing impurities in it.

In fiscal 2021, around 17% (by weight) of the recovered urethane was separated and collected as plastic.

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

Mixed plastic separated from recovered urethane

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 1,850 collection points established for used products. MRM operates in accordance with the laws and regulations of each state and recycled a total of 58,000 tons of used products in fiscal 2021.

  • *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 >

India has recycling laws such as the E-Waste Management Rules and the Plastic Waste Management Rules. These laws impose extended producer responsibility (EPR) on manufacturers and others. All relevant parties—including manufacturers, importers, and regional governments—are required to cooperate in collecting and recycling used products and waste plastic packaging. SBI, Sharp’s Indian sales subsidiary, has partnered with a local recycler, 3R Recycler, to carry out the recycling of used products. It also works with a local NGO, the Indian Pollution Control Association, to properly process waste plastic packaging.

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

Fiscal 2021 Objectives Fiscal 2021 Achievements Self-Evaluation Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2022
  • Practical application of recycled flame-retardant polypropylene
  • Developed recycled flame-retardant polypropylene that can be used in consumer durables such as home appliances
  • Practical application of recycled flame-retardant polypropylene
  • Basic development of environmentally friendly, halogen-free, flame-retardant recycled material
  • 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 use of recycled plastic developed through Sharp’s own closed-loop material recycling technology was extended to refrigerators, air conditioners, and washing machines released in fiscal 2021. In fiscal 2021, the cumulative total amount used since 2001 reached 20,000 tons.

  • *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 + refrigerator tray
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
Flame-retardant PS Substrate holder, substrate spacer Flat-panel TV back cabinet + refrigerator tray
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. There is a 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 enforcement of the Act on Promotion of Resource Circulation for Plastics*. The Act 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 2021, Sharp applied its own formulation technology to polypropylene recovered from used home appliances. The technology gives the polypropylene strong flame resistance and long-term durability while maintaining the physical properties demanded in home appliances. The resulting recycled flame-retardant polypropylene can be used in place of metal in parts that require a high level of safety, such as those used around power switches, control boards, and heaters. The practical application of this recycled plastic material holds promise for lighter and cheaper products, while also curbing the creation of waste plastic.

Sharp will expedite the practical application of recycled flame-retardant polypropylene. We will also develop plastic recycling technologies that can be applied to various products, thereby contributing to a circular economy.

  • 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 (effective as of April 1, 2022).

Used Plastic Recycling Method

Recycled flame-retardant polypropylene

Effectively Using Water Resources

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 2021 increased by 18% compared to the previous fiscal year to 10.6 million m3. This increase was due to the launch of full-scale operations at newly acquired production sites, among other factors. The improvement rate of water intensity was –2%, 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). SATL, Sharp’s production base in Thailand, is located in an area of highest risk. It is therefore reducing its use of new water by recycling water discharged from the production process and other sources. 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 and other products. 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%.

Looking ahead, Sharp will pursue further water-use efficiency worldwide 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 2021)

(m3)

Region Water withdrawal*1 Effluent Amount consumed*3 Amount recycled
Third-party
water*2
Groundwater Total Surface water Sewerage Seawater Groundwater Total
Japan 7,242,830 769,214 8,012,044 4,236,896 336,111 1,822,598 0 6,395,605 1,616,439 16,027,410
Asia 937,043 13,254 950,297 112,598 505,440 0 0 618,038 332,259 95,800
China 1,632,688 4,583 1,637,271 0 1,353,038 0 0 1,353,038 284,233 279,588
North and
South America
5,296 0 5,296 0 5,296 0 0 5,296 0 0
Europe 9,415 0 9,415 0 9,224 0 0 9,224 191 0
Total 9,827,272 787,051 10,614,323 4,349,494 2,209,109 1,822,598 0 8,381,201 2,233,122 16,402,798

Volume of New Water Used by Water Stress Rank*4 (Fiscal 2021)

Volume of New Water Used in Water Stressed Regions*5 (Fiscal 2021)

(m3)

Region Third-
party
water
Ground-water Surface water Seawater Produced
water
Total
Japan 22,212 0 0 0 0 22,212
Asia 834,523 0 0 0 0 834,523
China 207,779 0 0 0 0 207,779
North and
South America
0 0 0 0 0 0
Europe 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1,064,514 0 0 0 0 1,064,514
  • *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 displays. 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 Wastewater to Reduce the Amount of New Water Used

At SATL, a production base in Thailand, large volumes of water are discharged from the production process and restrooms. This water was previously released into a nearby river after being properly treated. But now SATL is using newly installed water recycling equipment to purify that water and use it in the production process. The greywater* generated by this recycling process is kept in storage tanks and used for restrooms and for watering the factory’s green areas. Thanks to these efforts, SATL has been able to reduce the consumption of clean water by about 24% (71,000 m3) per year.

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

Recycling Flow