Building a recycling scheme for scrap iron
[Company / organization] Panasonic Corporation
Jointly with Tokyo Steel Co., Ltd., we started a recycling scheme for scrap iron in July 2013. In this scheme, we recover the scrap iron from used home appliances and Tokyo Steel makes it into steel sheets. We then purchase the sheets back as a material for our products. Supplying scrap iron for recycling and repurchasing the recycled iron is the first scheme of its kind in the Japanese electrical manufacturing industry.
Specifically, scrap iron from home appliances collected and treated at PETEC and Panasonic Eco Technology Kanto Co., Ltd. is supplied to Tokyo Steel’s Okayama Plant, where the scrap iron is processed into electric steel plates.*8 Panasonic procures the recycled steel plates and utilizes them in products. Discussions with Tokyo Steel commenced in 2010, and we have worked together since then to improve the quality of recycled iron to a level sufficient for production use, as well as developing the technology to improve the applicability of the recycled iron. From this we identified the optimum application of the electric steel plates, and refined its specific features (e.g. shape, strength, and weldability) to meet applicationspecific requirements. Use of thin electric steel plates in our products was first made possible in 2011. Through this close collaboration, we materialized this recycling scheme in 2013, a scheme where a home appliance recycling company that we own supplies scrap iron to be used to make electric steel plates.
The amount of scrap iron we initially supplied to Tokyo Steel was about 50 tons per month. In fiscal 2021, it reached over 2,600 tons, and the recycled steel is being used in our products, including washing machines and ceiling materials for housing.