Home > Environment > Expansion of ECPs > Efficient Use of Resources 

Committed to People, Committed to the Future.

Efficient Use of Resources

Toshiba Group promotes 3R (reduce, reuse and recycle) initiatives for products to reduce resource consumption and increase incoming and outgoing recycling.

Toshiba Group's 3R* initiatives for products

In order to create a sound material-cycle society, there is a need to reduce the amount of resources extracted and discharged as waste throughout the product life cycle. Toshiba Group is promoting 3R initiatives for products aimed at reducing waste, increasing incoming recycling and improving outgoing recycling. We are also taking measures to promote design for 3Rs of product and recycling systems and are implementing activities to reduce the environmental impact of our products throughout their life cycles.

Reduce, reuse and recycle

Waste reduction

We achieve waste reduction through various means, including reducing the amount of resources used to manufacture products (reducing weight and size) and extending product lives (including upgrades and maintenance).

Incoming recycling

Incoming recycling refers to the application of recycled materials in products. We will work to improve our incoming recycling rate by increasing our use of recycled materials, plant-derived materials and reusable parts.

Outgoing recycling

Outgoing recycling refers to the collection and recycling of end-of-life products. By promoting designs for reusing and recycling materials, we improve outgoing recycling while simultaneously improving the system design for recycling end-of-life products further.

[Image] Toshiba Group's 3R initiatives for products

To Top

Increase in the percentage of resource savings

Results of FY2012

Under the Fifth Environmental Action Plan, we aim to further increase the amount of resources reduced to 1.5 times the FY2010 level. In FY2012, the total amount of resources used in Toshiba Group's major products, estimated by multiplying the amount used for products and packaging materials by the number of shipments, was approximately 600,000 tons. Based on comparisons with the previous product models and adjusting for the expected number of years of use, we also estimated to what extent resource consumption has been reduced for different products. Our comparisons show that we have reduced the use of resources by 280,000 tons, or by 29% compared to previous product models. In addition to reductions in the size and weight of LCD TVs and other digital devices, this result is also due to reductions in industrial product resource consumption, including reductions in the weight of elevators as well as increases in the capacities of magnetic disks (due to reductions in the number of units produced).

Future initiatives

We will continue to promote resource-saving designs for all products with the aim of further reducing resource consumption.

Amount of resources used by Toshiba Group and reductions in resource consumption (FY2012)
[Image] Amount of resources used by Toshiba Group and reductions in resource consumption (FY2012)

Calculated by comparison with the previous product models adjusting for the expected number of years of use

Case Study 1: Resource-saving design for LCD TVs

Toshiba Corp. Digital Products & Services Company

Thanks to Toshiba's unique lightweight design, the 40J7 model for the Japanese market achieved the industry's highest level of resource-saving performance. In addition to enhancing the strength of the front bezel material, we succeeded in reducing the width of the frame by creating the industry's first integrated back cover design. This model, which features reduced body weight and smaller packaging, thereby achieving the highest level of resource-saving performance*, was certified as an Excellent ECP for FY2012.

Compared to products in the same category at the time of product release

[Image] Resource-saving design for LCD TVs

To Top

Increase in the use of recycled plastics

Toshiba Group is promoting initiatives to recycle plastic waste generated by end-of-life products.

Results of FY2012

In addition to a significant increase in the use of recycled plastics for washing machines, refrigerators and vacuum cleaners, recycled plastics were also used for office machines (elevators, escalators and systems installed in cars). As a result, use of recycled plastics increased to 2,300 tons in FY2012. The percentage of recycled plastics*1 used in Toshiba Group products was 4.7%, greatly exceeding the target of 2.6%. We are also using plant-derived plastics to manufacture some plastic parts for LCD TVs and POS systems.

Future initiatives

In order to further increase the percentage of recycled plastics used in our products, we will secure a supply of waste plastics as well as develop new uses for recycled plastics in all product groups.

[Amount of recyclable plastics] / [Amount of plastics used for products] × 100

Amounts and percentages of recycled plastics used
[Image] Amounts and percentages of recycled plastics used

Post-consumer recycled materials vary in quantity available and quality depending on how they are obtained. At times, we may need to use virgin materials due to insufficient supply or quality problems.

Case Study 2: Use of recycled plastics in refrigerators

Toshiba Home Appliances Corporation

The percentage of recycled plastics used in Toshiba's VEGETA/GR-F56FXV refrigerator has significantly increased compared to the equivalent model for the previous year (GR-E55FX). The main reason for this increase is that recycled plastics were used for the parts embedded in polyurethane and the parts inside the machine chamber that do no affect product appearance. In addition to design improvements, improvements in recycling processes, including an increase in the supply, development of new recycled materials, and transport to overseas production sites, have made it possible to use such recycled products.

[Image] Use of recycled plastics in refrigerators

To Top

Initiatives regarding rare earths and rare metals

Results of FY2012

Toshiba Group is working to reduce risks, such as increases in the prices of rare earths and rare metals and restrictions on the export of such materials. Among the rare earths used in home appliances, neodymium (Nd) and dysprosium (Dy), which are used as materials for permanent magnets, must be given high priority in consideration of the fact that they are used in large quantities. We adopted the grain boundary diffusion method for rare earth magnets used in air conditioner compressors ahead of other companies and reduced the use of Dy by approximately 50%. In addition to using ferrite magnets that contain no rare metals as alternatives to neodymium magnets in washing machine motors, we have also developed samarium-cobalt magnets that contain no dysprosium. We will continue to make efforts to reduce and eliminate the use of dysprosium.

Example of an alternative material used for product parts

Air conditioner compressor
[Image] Air conditioner compressor

GDD motor for washing machines
[Image] GDD motor for washing machines

To Top

Initiatives regarding the assessment of water footprints

The water footprint (WF) of a product is an assessment of its effects on water resources throughout its life cycle. Toshiba has started to estimate WFs for its products, an industry first, in order to assess the effects of its business on water resources.

Results of FY2012

In last year's report, we presented the WFs we estimated for our refrigerators and washing machines with dryers. In addition, we assessed these products' contributions to reducing water consumption in homes. We also estimated water consumption of paper reuse systems. We quantitatively showed that reusing paper reduces not only CO2 emissions but also water consumption.

Contribution to the establishment of international standards

Standards for principles and requirements regarding WFs are being established in ISO/TC207 (environmental management)/ SC5 (life cycle assessment). Toshiba Group participated in a working group meeting held in June 2013 in the Republic of Botswana as an international expert member, presenting its opinion as a company in order to help establish more practical procedures.

Future initiatives

We will continue to improve our method for assessing environmental effects and to expand the scope of assessment. At the same time, we will also take an active part in establishing international standards.

Examples of reduction in water consumption in homes
[Image] Examples of reduction in water consumption in homes

Calculated by Toshiba based on "FY2011 Japan's Resources"
Compared with Toshiba FY2000 model

Case Study 3: Estimation of the WF of a paper reuse system

[Image] Paper reuse system
Paper reuse system

Toshiba TEC Corp.

This paper reuse system, which removes colors, sorts paper, and creates electronic data all at the same time, was certified as an Excellent ECP in FY2012. By enabling reuse of paper, the system reduces water consumption by 79% throughout its life cycle.

[Image] Estimation of the WF of a paper reuse system

<Assessment conditions>
An MFP system is used for five years to print 540,000 A4-size sheets of paper. Each sheet of paper is used five times. 40 users use 0.5 dedicated writing implements per man-month. See the reference material* for detailed information, including per-unit production databases used for the assessment.
Yokoyama et al. (2013), 8th Conference of the Institute of Life Cycle Assessment, Japan, A1-07

To Top

3R initiatives for packaging material

We will streamline the use of packaging as well as product materials to reduce environmental impacts throughout their entire life cycles.

Results of FY2012

The amount of packaging materials used by Toshiba Group in FY2012 was 70,000 tons. As the number of shipments increases, the amount of packaging materials used also tends to increase. Nevertheless, we will work to reduce the use of packaging materials in accordance with the characteristics of each business area and product category through various measures, such as reducing packaging volume, enlarging the size of returnable (reusable) cases and using materials with low environmental impact.

Amount of packaging materials used by Toshiba Group
[Image] Amount of packaging materials used by Toshiba Group

To Top

Case Studies in FY2011

Case Study: Multi-slice CT system, Alexion™ (TSX-032A)*1 Reduce

Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation

This multi-slice CT system was developed as a low-end 16-row model to meet the needs of clinics and small hospitals. While keeping the high-resolution and high-performance features of our conventional model, including cutting-edge technologies for creating high-resolution images with a low level of X-ray radiation (AIDR-3D™, VolumeEC, etc.)*1 as well as a low-power compact X-ray tube that saves energy,*2 we achieved the industry’s lightest weight and smallest footprint. As a result, this system was certified as an Excellent ECP in FY2011.

With a body weight of 1,220 kg and a minimum footprint of 10.4m², the Alexion™ can be installed in existing CT examination rooms*3. This system also minimizes the size of renovation (extension) and construction required for electric utilities and reduces the amount of waste generated by system updates.

Using AIDR 3D, the system can reduce its noise level by a maximum of 50% and X-ray radiation exposure by 75%. Systems equipped with this technology do not require external units or hardware to produce these effects.
Can be operated with 30 kVA of power.
The Alexion™ can be installed in the same space where Toshiba’s conventional single-slice CT system has been installed. Activion™, Toshiba’s 16-row multi-slice CT system, has a footprint of 18.4 m².

[Image] Multi-slice CT system, Alexion™ (TSX-032A)

To Top

Case Study: Cleaner Reduce Recycle

Toshiba Home Appliances Corporation

This cyclone cleaner has the industry’s lightest body weight (2.5 kg) and was certified as an Excellent ECP for FY2011.

Recycled plastics are used for the motor covers and ducts, accounting for 11% of all plastics used in the cleaner.

Including other cyclone cleaner and paper bag cleaner models, Toshiba Group provides a wide range of cleaners which contain recycled plastics, thereby contributing to resource recycling.

[Image] Cleaner

To Top

Water footprints of washing machines with dryers

[Image] TW–Z9200


Washing capacity: 9 kg; Drying capacity: 6 kg Washing machine with dryer with the highest level* of energy and resource-saving performance; certified as an Excellent ECP in FY2011

As of when the product was released:
Power consumption: 665 Wh (for washing and drying) 63 Wh (for washing)
Water consumption: 60 L (for washing)

The WFs of washing machines with dryers are largely accounted for by their water consumption during use. Use of heat pumps greatly reduces water consumption during drying. In addition, Toshiba’s ZABOON washing machine with dryer is equipped with water-saving technologies for centripetal washing and energysaving operation. Thanks to these technologies, it can reduce water consumption by approximately 58% over its entire life cycle (in comparison with Toshiba’s model produced in FY2000).

[Image] chart of Water footprints of washing machines with dryers

  • Benchmarkproduct: Toshiba’s FY2000 model(TW-F70)
  • Ausageperiod ofseven yearswas assumed.

To Top

Water footprints of refrigerators

[Image] GR-E55FX/50FX


Awarded the 2011 Grand Prize for Excellence in Energy Efficiency and Conservation (Chairman Prize of ECCJ). Designed to reduce the use of electricity by the heating device* in order to minimize peak power consumption and to contribute to power conservation during the summer, this refrigerator was certified as an Excellent ECP for FY2011.

The industry’s lowest power consumption (109 W)

The WFs of refrigerators are largely accounted for by water consumption related to food waste. Since crops and vegetables consume large amounts of water while being cultivated, reducing the amount of food waste leads to reduced amounts of food consumption, thereby reducing water consumption. Energy-saving initiatives we have developed in the past have also lead to reductions in indirect water consumption required for power generation. In order to mitigate climate change, it is important to conserve energy. To protect water resources, it is equally important to preserve food. Toshiba’s VEGETA refrigerator is equipped with a vegetable monitoring sensor designed to maintain humidity at approximately 100% and sterilizes food with pico ions in order to preserve vegetables for an extended period of time (for example, it preserves the water in spinach approx. 2.3 times longer than conventional models). It reduces water consumption by 45% throughout its life cycle.

[Image] Water footprints of refrigerators

  • Benchmarkproduct: Toshiba’s FY2000model(GR-471K).Power consumption during use was calculated based on the annual power consumption (750 to 840 kWh) stipulated by the Japan Electrical Manufacturers' Association’s independent standards for refrigerators with capacities of 401 to 450 liters rather than using a specific product model.
  • Ausageperiodoftenyearswas assumed.
  • Water consumptionforfoodwastewas calculatedby Toshibabased on the amount of food directly disposed of according to the Statistical Survey on Food Waste (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries).

To Top

[Image] Norihiro Itsubo
Professor Norihiro Itsubo Faculty of Environmental and Information Studies Tokyo City University

The United Nations has announced a goal of reducing the percentage of people without access to safe drinking water and sanitary facilities by half by 2015. Also, there are growing concerns among countries worldwide about how to solve water shortages. The water footprint approach, which analyzes water consumption and its effects from the perspective of product life cycles, is recognized as an effective assessment method for doing so. At present, the ISO is discussing how to establish international standards for implementing this approach.

Toshiba is playing a leading role globally in adopting the water footprint approach and is effectively providing environmental information on its eco products. As a company that supplies products worldwide, Toshiba is successfully fulfilling its responsibilities to the global community by providing information that attracts the attention of developing countries with special interests in water problems.

To Top