Enhancing Water Use Efficiency and Responding to Water Risks in Manufacturing Sites
To achieve a resource-efficient society, our company sets a target to improve the efficiency of water use by 50% (compared with FY2010) by FY2050 in our long-term targets under Hitachi Environmental Innovation 2050.
Our manufacturing sites use water in the production processes, such as for product testing, facility cooling and painting processes. In order to enhance water use efficiency, we are making efforts to strengthen management, such as by control of water consumption via visualization through IoT and investigation of plumbing leaks by patrol.
In addition, as a response to water risks, identification and evaluation of water risk at manufacturing sites is conducted once a year in accordance with the Hitachi Group Water Risk Guidelines.
In FY2022, the target set for water usage per unit*1 was 62.4% of the base year FY2010 level, and we achieved the target at 48.9%.
The results of the water risk evaluation did not identify any sites with significant risks that need to be addressed immediately.
*1 Quotient of water consumption divided by amount of activities
*2 A value linked closely to water consumption (such as production and quantity produced)
Water usage improvement per unit
Efforts to Reduce Waste at Manufacturing Sites
To achieve a resource-efficient society, our company sets a target to improve the efficiency of resource use by 50% (compared with FY2010) by FY2050 in our long-term targets under Hitachi Environmental Innovation 2050.
To achieve the long-term goals, the Environmental Action Plan for 2024 establishes targets for valuable waste generated per unit, zero waste to landfill, and effective utilization rates related to plastic waste as indicators, and promotes 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) activities*1.
In FY2022, the target set for valuable waste generated per unit*2 was 115.7% of the base year FY2010 level, and we achieved the target at 85.3%.
In addition, we achieved zero waste to landfill*3 at both Taga and Tochigi Plants, which reduces the amount of waste disposed of in landfills as close to zero as possible.
For effective utilization rates related to plastic waste, we achieved the target of FY2024 ahead of time at 99.6%.
*1 Efforts to use resources effectively.This is created by taking the first letters of the words Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.Their meanings are as follows.
・Reduce: Reduce the amount of waste that is discarded as end-of-life.
・Reuse: Reuse the used product instead of discarding.
・Recycle: Recycle the used product as resources.
*2 Quotient of the amount of waste and valuable materials divided by the amount of activities.
*3 Defined as a final disposal rate (landfill disposal/waste and valuables) of less than 0.5% in any given fiscal year in the Hitachi Group.
*4 A value liked closely to the amount of waste and valuable materials (such as production and quantity produced).
Valuable waste generated improvement per unit
Effective use of plastic waste
Promoting Home Appliances Recycling
The Act on Recycling of Specified Home Appliances*1 mandates that manufacturers, etc. (manufacturers, importers and distributors) recycle end-of-life home appliances which they manufactured and imported in four product categories (room air conditioners, TVs, refrigerators and freezers, and washing machines and clothes dryers). The Act also sets recycling rate*2 standards for each product, and manufacturers are required to achieve a rate above the standards.
In response to this Act, we are collaborating with 4 other companies (Group B)*3 in the same industry, and working to build and operate efficient recycling systems on a national scale.
As a result of these efforts, the number of our used home appliances collected in FY2022 was approximately 1,732,000 units for three categories (TVs, refrigerators and freezers, and washing machines and clothes dryers), and the weight recycled was approximately 66 kt. We achieved recycling rates such as 80% for refrigerators/freezers, 94% for washing machines/clothes dryers, 74% for CRT TVs, and 87% for LCD and plasma TVs, which are rates that exceed the legal standards.
We will continue to develop new recycling technologies to contribute to the realization of a resource-efficient society and promote the improvement of recycling rates.
*1 The Act on Recycling of Specified Home Appliances
*2 Evaluated by the percentage of used home appliances collected by manufacturers, etc., that are transferred as parts and raw materials for a fee or for free, by weight.Legal standards for recycling rates: 70% for refrigerators and freezers, 82% for washing machines and clothes dryers, 55% forCRT TVs,and 74% for LCD and plasma TVs.
*3 Sharp Corporation, Sony Corporation, Fujitsu General Limited, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Hitachi Global Life Solutions,Inc. (5 companies in total)
Topic ①: Development of Recycling Technologies
Machine for disassembling glass doors of refrigerators
As a manufacturer and distributor of refrigerators with glass doors, we have been conducting R&D to efficiently separate and polish glass panels of glass doors in the recycling process with the aim of promoting recycling, and in November 2021 we developed a machine for disassembling the glass doors of refrigerators.
This machine separates the glass door into the door part and the glass panel, enabling recycling of plastics and metals used in the door part.
Glass polishing system
However, it was difficult to recycle glass panels as glass materials because of the urethane and painting materials adhered to the panels, so this has been used as roadbed material.
We therefore developed a glass polishing system, which polishes these glass panels to cleanly remove adhered urethanes, paint, and other substances. This allows the panels to be used as the same glass material (closed recycling system), thereby expanding the range of applications for the separated glass panels.
This system has been in operation at Kanto Eco Recycle Co., Ltd. since July 2023. We are working on further improvement of the system now that it is in full operation.
Features of glass polishing system
- Glass polishing system employs the surface polishing method, which removes adherent substances by polishing the surface of the glass panel with multiple rotating brushes.
- By combining the angle at which the glass panels are inserted and the rotation of the brushes, the polishing process enables the removal of urethanes, painting materials, and other adherent materials.
News release (Only Japanese)
Topic ②: Expanded Use of Recycled Plastics
The Group is promoting the expanded use of recycled plastic materials as part of our resource-recycling initiative.
At Kanto Eco Recycle Co., Ltd., used home appliances are dismantled and crushed for recycling. In order to establish a process to convert the mixed plastics generated in the process of dismantling and crushing into mono materials, we will install material sorting equipment to expand the supply of waste plastics.
Hitachi Appliances Techno Service, Ltd., one of our procurement routes, also manufactures functional plastic materials and recycled plastic materials. In order to expand the supply of recycled pellets, we will install more extrusion molding production lines in the future.
In addition to promoting these activities, we will develop technologies for use of recycled plastics with the aim of realizing resource-recycling within the Group.
Flow of recycled plastic use in Hitachi Global Life Solutions Group
Topic ③: Development of Products with Low Environmental Impact -Washer/Dryer
Contribution to a resource-efficient society through long-term use: Front-loading washer dryer BD-STX120H
In addition to energy saving, we also consider the long-term use of our products by making products more resource-efficient and easier to care for.
BD-STX120H [Launched in September 2022]
Consideration for saving resources
The drying process from washing to drying operation has been revised to shorten the time and reduce power consumption compared to our previous model (BD-STX110G). At the same time, washing capacity has been increased from 11 kg to 12 kg without changing the dimensions of the main body, and the volumetric efficiency (washing capacity/body volume) has been improved with a view to saving resources.
Innovations for easy care
- The Dry Filter-less structure has been adopted, which eliminates the drying filter on the top of the product body. Automatic Door Gasket Cleaning has also been newly equipped in addition to the existing features of Automatic Washing Tank Cleaning and Automatic Drying Duct Cleaning.
- Three automatic cleaning functions gather dust and lint from the drying operation in a box-shaped High Capacity Lint Filter located on the lower left side of the main body, collecting dust and lint in one place, thereby reducing cleaning time and the frequency of waste disposal.
Diagram of dry filter-less, high-capacity lint filter and three automatic cleaning functions
Topic ③: Development of Products with Low Environmental Impact: Microwave Oven
Contribution to a resource-efficient society through long-term use: Microwave oven MRO-W10A
In addition to the cooking assist function linked with a smartphone, various innovations have been madeto prevent stains inside the cooking cabinet and make it easy to clean the cabinet for long-term use. It is also designed to be easy to disassemble by reducing the number of parts. *1
*1 A similar structure has been adopted for the 2023 models (MRO‐W10B, MRO‐W1B, MRO‐S8B) to ensure long-term use and disassembly of the products.
MRO-W10A [Launched in July 2022]
Care for disassembly
The number of parts has been reduced by reviewing the wiring inside the product, etc.,and care has also been taken to ensure that the product can be disassembled.
Innovations for easy care
- Silicone-based coating is used for stain resistance and easy cleaning inside the cabinet
- Removable and fully washable ceramic table plate
- Flat top surface inside the cabinet for easy cleaning without exposed heaters
- Removable and washable water tank and dew basin
- Improved cooking software and made table plate rim higher to reduce leakage of juices from cooked food not only during the microwave operation but also during oven/grill cooking
Designed to reduce stains and ease cleaning (image)
Topic ③: Development of Products with Low Environmental Impact: Refrigerator
R‐MR7S [Launched in April 2022]
Improved product recyclability
We are working to develop technologies that enable both design and ease of disassembly.
Conventional refrigerators using foamed polyurethane as heat insulators had issues with ease of disassembly during product recycling because urethane and other parts adhered to each other. Therefore, we developed a refrigerator without foamed urethane to improve its disassembly process.
Innovations for ease of recycling
By developing a cabinet without foamed urethane utilizing styrene and rigid urethane board as heat insulators, it will be possible to easily disassemble and separate these parts by removing the screws that fasten the parts when they are recycled at the end-of-life stage.
Topic ③: Development of Products with Low Environmental Impact: Stick vacuum cleaner
PV-BH900SK [Launched in August 2022]
Contribution to a resource-efficient society through long-term use: Cordless stick vacuum cleaner PV-BH900SK
We are taking into consideration the long-term use of our products by making them easy to care for. *1
*1 A similar structure has been adopted for the 2023 model (PV-BH900SL) to ensure long-term use of the products.
Various innovations for long-term use
- The "Karaman (tangle-free) brush," which has a loop-shaped tip on the rotatingbrush, is adopted to prevent hair and other debris from getting stuck in the rotating brush.
- The rotating brush on the suction port and dust case parts are easily removable and washable in water.
- It features a cassette-type lithium-ion battery, which can be replaced without any tools, for ease of serviceability and recycling.
Topic ④: Expansion of Service Business Corresponding to Resource Recycling
In order to promote resource-recycling, our company has been expanding our service business by commencing sales of outlet items from November 2021 and a refurbishing business from October 2022.
A refurbished product is a reconditioned product that was returned to the manufacturer with some defects in appearance or performance when it was unpacked after being delivered to the customer's home or after being used for a short period of time.
In addition to the replacement of defective parts, internal cleaning, visual inspection, and performance testing are conducted, and the products that pass these tests are sold as refurbished products in our online store.
Outlet products are items that have stains, tears, or scratches on the packing materials but no problems with the product itself, and these are described in our website and sold in the outlet section of our online store.
Note: An example of packaging condition (illustration)
In this way, we will also contribute to the reduction of environmental impact through our service business of refurbished and outlet products.
Process to sell as refurbished products