CSR / Environment

Resource Recycling

Minimizing and Recycling Business Activity-Linked Waste

Fiscal 2018 Objectives Fiscal 2018 Achievements Self-Evaluation
  • Final landfill disposal rate of 0.5% or less
  • Final landfill disposal rate 0.6%
Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2019
  • 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 2018, the amount of waste, etc. generated by the Sharp Group increased by 3% compared to the previous fiscal year to 75,000 tons, due to an expansion of the tabulation range resulting from the acquisition of a subsidiary. Additionally, the amount of recycling fell by 1% from the previous fiscal year to 71,000 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 0.02%, marking the 18th 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 2018)

Case Study

Reviewing the Concentration Rate of Waste Liquid from Washing to Reduce Industrial Waste

Sharp's Kameyama Plant (Kameyama, Mie Prefecture) strives to reduce industrial waste from the manufacturing process for LCDs. The harmful gas generated in the production process is washed using purified water. The resulting waste liquid contains a large amount of fluorine. This waste liquid is then reduced in volume via an evaporator and emitted as industrial waste. In 2018, Sharp reviewed the concentration rate of the evaporator. After increasing the rate step by step, it was able to reduce the amount of waste by 2,400 tons a year.

Reducing the volume of washing waste liquid via an evaporator

Flow of processing washing waste

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 2018 Objectives Fiscal 2018 Achievements Self-Evaluation
  • Achieve high efficiency from washing machine recycling line
  • Upgraded washing machine recycling line and raised processing efficiency by approx. 20%
★★
Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2019
  • Recycle waste refrigerator parts into valuable resources
  • 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 2018, Sharp collected 1.871 million units (up 17% 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 59,000 tons (up 16% 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 2018)

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 299 140 574 432 424 1,871
Processed and recycled units Thousand units 301 144 573 433 424 1,877
Processed and recycled weight Tons 12,347 3,393 10,551 25,737 16,230 68,259
Recycled weight Tons 11,720 2,531 9,269 20,412 15,263 59,198
Recycling rate % 94 74 87 79 94
Legally required recycling rate % 80 55 74 70 82

Improving Recycling Efficiency

Sharp and Kansai Recycling Systems Co., Ltd.*2 have joined forces to make effective use of resources and to improve recycling efficiency. The recycling plants have been receiving an increasing number of used front-loading washing machines, which take more than twice as long to process as conventional top-loading washing machines. In response, Kansai Recycling Systems upgraded the washing machine recycling line in fiscal 2018 in order to shorten disassembly time for all washing machines. The recycling line was built to reduce burden on workers and improve safety. This was accomplished by newly adding automatic conveyors, partly automating transport and separation of recovered items, and newly adding a dedicated disassembly workbench for front-loading washing machines, which are heavy and have a complex structure. This upgrading shortened the average disassembly time on the washing machine recycling line by approximately 20%, thus boosting efficiency.

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

The upgraded washing machine recycling line

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 1,400 collection points established for used products. MRM operates in accordance with the laws and regulations of each state and recycled a total of 54,431 tons of used products in fiscal 2018.

  • *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, which imposed extended producer responsibility on manufacturers and other parties. Sharp's Indian sales subsidiary SBI (based in New Delhi) has partnered with 3R Recycler Pvt. Ltd. to promote the proper disposal of used products.

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

Fiscal 2018 Objectives Fiscal 2018 Achievements Self-Evaluation
Develop technology that adds extra value (flame retardancy) to recycled plastic material (recovered composite PP*1) Established basic formula for making recycled plastic (recovered composite PP) flame retardant ★★
Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2019
  • Develop technology for the 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

Sharp and Kansai Recycling Systems Co., Ltd.*2 jointly developed closed-loop plastic material recycling technology. 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 for the Japanese market. This technology has been in practical use since fiscal 2001 and the enactment of the Act on Recycling of Specified Kinds of Home Appliances (Home Appliance Recycling Act) in Japan.

The development of new technologies has enabled Sharp to increase the volume of recyclable plastic year after year. These technologies include the following: (1) a technology for recovering high-purity PP (polypropylene) from mixed plastic parts and parts that contain metal; (2) a technology for improving the properties of recovered PP/HIPS*3 and PC+ABS*4 materials so that their quality is on a par with that of new materials; (3) 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; (4) 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.

Recycling Plastic Recovered from the 4 Types of Home Appliances

  • *1 In addition to the main materials, polypropylene (PP) recovered from components with large amounts of metallic, different resin, etc., additives.
  • *2 A consumer electronics recycling company established in Japan with joint investment from Sharp, Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, and four other companies.
  • *3 High-impact polystyrene (general-purpose polystyrene [GPPS] given impact resistance by adding rubber).
  • *4 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).
  • *5 Blending multiple types of resins uniformly and finely dispersed into one another at the molecular level.
  • *6 A resin given new properties as a result of mixing in several types of resins.

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, the Plastic Resource Recycling Strategy*2 was formulated and systems are gradually being put in place for recycling used plastics. 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 2018, Sharp succeeded in developing the basic technology for giving flame-retardant properties to polypropylene (PP) recovered from used refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners. Up to now, it had been necessary to use metals or expensive engineering plastics*3 for 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 mass-production technology with the goal of achieving it sometime in fiscal 2019.

  • *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 Plastic with engineered characteristics for mechanical strength and heat resistance.

Used Plastic Recycling Method

Amount of Recycled Plastic Used and Examples of Recycled Plastic Use

In order to increase the amount of recycled plastic that it uses, Sharp is working to expand the number of plastic varieties and Sharp product applications for which recycled plastic is used.

In fiscal 2018, the cumulative total (from fiscal 2001 to 2018) for closed-loop material recycling technology-derived plastic usage reached 17,000 tons.

Amount of Recycled Plastic Used (Cumulative)

Examples of Recycled Plastic Use

Effectively Using Water Resources

Fiscal 2018 Objectives Fiscal 2018 Achievements Self-Evaluation
Water intensity: Improve by 20%
(baseline year: fiscal 2012)
Water intensity: Improved by 15%
(baseline year: fiscal 2012)
Priority Objectives for Fiscal 2019 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 2018 increased by 9% compared to the previous fiscal year to 8.5 million m3 because of the larger scope of operations due to factors such as mergers and acquisitions. The improvement rate of water intensity was 15%, 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 2018)

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 2018)

(m3)

Region Water Used Drainage
Industrial-use water Tap water Ground water Water reused Total Sewerage Freshwater area Seawater area Total
Japan 4,527,805 810,206 506,454 14,921,464 20,765,929 589,918 1,744,203 1,552,416 3,886,537
Asia 0 886,337 11,426 71,869 969,632 449,826 150,805 0 600,631
China 0 1,714,244 7,184 138,892 1,860,320 1,514,223 0 0 1,514,223
North and South America 0 5,766 0 0 5,766 5,766 0 0 5,766
Europe 0 15,904 0 0 15,904 15,338 0 0 15,338
Total 4,527,805 3,432,457 525,064 15,132,225 23,617,551 2,575,071 1,895,008 1,552,416 6,022,495
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