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Environment:FOCUS–"Product to Product" Manufacturing

While enormous amounts of resources are being consumed in our day-to-day lives, these resources will not last forever. To make the best use of resources and to create a sustainable society, we began Recycling-oriented Manufacturing in fiscal 2011.

As a part of such efforts, we launched the Resources Recycling-oriented Product series in February 2012, under the concept of “product to product.” This series consists of four major Panasonic products: refrigerators, washing/drying machines, vacuum cleaners, and rice cookers. With our unique recycling technology, resources are extracted from used products and reused in these four products to the fullest extent. Furthermore, we introduced an air conditioner model into the series in October 2012. The air conditioner uses a filter frame made of plastic recycled from refrigerators. The process from the refrigerator to the air conditioner is as below.

Panasonic aims at spreading ‘better life’ to people, while contributing to the global environment. We will continue to manufacture our products which make the best use of resources to work on solving environmental problems, and to develop our business at the same time.

Refrigerator to Air Conditioner

1. Panasonic Eco Technology Center Co., Ltd. (PETEC)

PETEC

PETEC

PETEC staff member at work

Staff member at work

PETEC is responsible for recovering resources from used home appliances (TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, and washing machines). Home appliances provide a treasure trove of valuable resources. With the slogan “treasure hunting”, we recover not only plastics but also metals such as steel, copper, and aluminum, as well as rare earth metals.

As one of our activities, we use our high-precision resin sorting system to instantly identify the type of recovered mixed plastics through near-infrared rays. The plastics are then sorted by type and restored for resource reuse.

Our mission is to extract as much resources as possible from used products and to preserve such resources for the future. PETEC will continue to work at increasing recycling efficiency.

Kazuyuki Tomita President Panasonic Eco Technology Center Co., Ltd.

2. Kato Resin Circulation Factory

Kato Plastic Recycling Factory

Kato Plastic Recycling Factory

Staff members at work

Staff members at work

In order to ensure the quality of Resources Recycling-oriented Products, recovered plastics are washed and their physical characteristics and material life recovered at the Kato Plastic Recycling Factory.

Although the plastics from PETEC maintains 99% purity, the presence of contamination of about 0.5% cannot be avoided. We further reduce this percentage of contamination in the cleaning process at the Kato Plastic Recycling Factory, restore the strength and the life span of the plastics, and use them as recycled materials whose quality is assured for manufacturing new products.

Recovered resources are meaningful only when reused appropriately. We will continue to work to create conditions that make recycled materials ever more usable in product manufacturing.

Yasuo Nishida Project Leader Kato Plastic Recycling Factory Project, Advanced Manufacturing Process Development Center, Corporate Manufacturing Innovation Division, Appliances Company, Panasonic Corporation

3. Appliances Company

Appliances Company

Appliances Company

Staff members at work

Staff members at work

Appliances Company develops and manufactures household appliances as well as beauty and healthcare products. Recycled materials are actively used in manufacturing these products.

The high-purity recycled plastics from the Kato Plastic Recycling Factory are used for the filter frame of an air-conditioner model launched in October 2012. The plastic recycling technology that we have developed allows the product quality to be about the same as products using new materials.

It is the responsibility of manufacturers to make careful and efficient use of our finite resources. We will continue delivering Resources Recycling-oriented Products to assure comfort and well-being for the coming generations.

Yoshihisa Kuromiya General Manager Manufacturing Capability Enhancement Center, Corporate Manufacturing Innovation Division, Appliances Company, Panasonic Corporation

Panasonic Initiatives for Resources Recycling

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