As a result of an increasing volume and variety of waste products, Japan is facing issues such as a growing percentage of difficult-to-treat materials, and pressure on landfill sites. Recovering and recycling waste without producing secondary waste has therefore become a top priority.
As one of very few Groups in the world that has both nonferrous smelting and cement plants, we run a combined smelting and cement recycling system as part of our environmental recycling operations here at the Mitsubishi Materials Group, in an effort to help establish a recycling-oriented society. Our smelting plants use byproducts generated by our cement plants as raw materials, and vice versa, enabling us to recycle waste without any need for landfill sites. One of the byproducts we generate at our smelting plants is copper slag, which is increasingly being used as an aggregate for heavyweight and other concretes, as part of construction work to better prepare Japan for tsunamis and other natural disasters.
Making the most of this system, which enables us to process E-Scrap, used home appliances, scrap vehicles, batteries and various other types of waste, we have also started to recycle difficult-to-treat waste such as rubble from disaster areas, sewage sludge and waste plasterboard. We use unique technologies at our cement plants in particular to recycle sewage sludge and waste plasterboard into raw materials for cement.
Our unique Mitsubishi Continuous Copper Smelting and Converting Process (Mitsubishi Process) is a highly efficient copper manufacturing process that has exceptionally low environmental impact. We put copper concentrate and recycled raw materials through a series of three furnaces connected by pipes to continuously produce blister copper. The required facilities are compact and also help to save energy and cut costs.
Raw materials (including wastes and byproducts) are prepared during the raw material grinding process and then sintered at high temperatures to produce a hydraulic mineral during the burning process. Once the raw mixture has reached the maximum temperature (1,450ºC) and a series of chemical reactions are completed, it is quickly cooled into an intermediate product called clinker.
|Compared to sending used appliances to landfill and manufacturing new materials from natural resources||Reduction in CO2 emissions||217,000 tons|
|Reduction in consumption of natural mineral resources||144,000 tons|
|Reduction in energy consumption||92,000 tons|
|Reduction in waste sent to landfill||123,000 tons|
The above table does not take into account the impact of recovering fluorocarbons (refrigerant fluorocarbon in air conditioners, refrigerators, and washing machines, and insulation fluorocarbon in refrigerators). Expressed in terms of CO2 emissions, recovering approximately 554 tons of fluorocarbons would equate to a reduction of approximately 1,380,000 tons.
* 5 companies and 6 plants are subject to LCA evaluation.
Recycling process of refrigerators