Efforts of Resource Recovery
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Efforts of Resource Recovery

Shogo Yamaguchi
Resources & Environmental Business Division
Mitsubishi Materials Corporation

 

1. Outline and performance of home electrical appliances

Fig. 1-1 Outline of the Home Appliance Recycling Law

The Act for Recycling of Specified Kinds of Home Appliances (commonly known as the “Home Appliance Recycling Law”) was put into effect in April 2001. Regarding the following four major home electrical appliances: home air-conditioners, tube televisions, refrigerators (including freezers), and washing machines, the law obliges that retailers must accept their return and manufacturers or importers must recycle them. Furthermore, consumers (generators) must pay recycling, collection, and transportation fees when they dispose of any of the four home electrical appliances. The law sets the responsibility for each party.
When manufacturers recycle waste home electric appliances they accepted, they must not only achieve the set recycle rate (50-60%) but also extract chlorofluorocarbons from air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers. In addition, the industrial waste control manifest was also established. This system can confirm that consumers are properly recycling as well.

Table 1-1 Changes in the legal recycling rate

 

TV

Thin-screen TV

RE

WM

AC

Enforcement, 2001

More than 55%

 

More than 50%

More than 50%

More than 60%

Revision, 2009

More than 55%

More than 50%

More than 60%

More than 65%

More than 70%

There are two groups of home appliance makers that have responsibility for disposals. Each group has a management company and each management company selects the home appliance recycling plants. Furthermore, each management company controls the entire process of bringing the recycled appliances to the recycling plants after they are collected at designated collection locations.

Fig. 1-2 Trend chart of the number of home electrical appliances recycled  Fig. 1-3 Trend chart of recycling rate

Ever since the Home Appliance Recycling Law was put into effect, it has been doing well (Fig. 1-2). The 2008 actual performance shows more than 127 million appliances (total disposed weight: approx. 496 thousand tons) were recycled. The table below shows recovered valuable metals. Additionally, the recycling rate (Fig. 1-3) shows the actual performance from 2008 when the focus of consumer-electronics makers was on plastic recycling: television (89%), air-conditioner (89%), refrigerator (74%) and washing machine (84%). The results greatly exceeded the legal recycling rate described above. The expected increase in the number of tube televisions collected for recovery was because of the proposed ending of analog broadcasts in 2011. Since the eco-point system was introduced in May of this year, the collection number of three of the four major home electrical appliances has been rising. In particular, the actual performance of last July and August indicates an increase of approximately 200% in the collection of tube televisions at every home appliance recycling plant compared with the previous fiscal year.

Table 1-2 Performance of the recovery of valuable metals

 

TV

RE

WM

AC

TOTAL

Iron

15,800

70,095

41,524

24,403

151,822

Copper

5,719

2,401

1,605

5,406

15,131

Aluminum

77

414

789

9,344

10,624

Mixture of non-ferrous and ferrous materials

1,448

20,293

11,360

25,696

58,797

(Unit: ton)


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Rare metal recovery using metal biotechnology
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2. Recovery of non-ferrous materials from home electrical appliances recycling