Section 2. Response to Environmental and Safety Issues
Item 3. Making Efficient Use of Limited Resources
Introduction of action on recycling
In the 1990s, the collapse of the bubble economy saw the end of the throwaway culture, and society entered a new era that called for the creation of a recycling-oriented society. In Japan, the Basic Environment Law was enacted in 1993, and the The basic law for establishing the recycling-based was enacted in 2000. Recycling laws applying to individual products, including containers and packaging, household electrical appliances, and automobiles, were later introduced that stipulated recycling rates and other matters.
Toyota had for many years been engaged in action to minimize the amount of waste generated in the automobile lifecycle from development through production and logistics to disposal and to re-use and recycle whenever possible. Specifically, as motorization advanced rapidly in the 1970s, Toyota gave thought to the need for appropriate treatment and recycling of the large numbers of end-of-life vehicles expected to appear in the future. Accordingly, Toyota led the industry in the introduction of large shredder machines and established Toyota Metal Scrap Co., Ltd. (now Toyota Metal Co., Ltd.) in a venture financed jointly with Toyota Tsusho Corporation and Aichi Steel Corporation. The joint venture is now a major automobile recycling base taking on the responsibility of enhancing resource recycling.
Regarding internal systems, the TMC's Recycling Committee, established in 1990, has since worked to discuss and implement projects that anticipate the needs of the times. From 1991, Toyota began collection of end-of-life bumpers from Toyota dealers, specialist repair shops, and other sources for recycling into plastic parts. Since collecting more than 800,000 bumpers in fiscal 2004 (ended March 2005), a high level of collection and recycling continues to be maintained.
In the development of recycling and recovery technology, 1998 saw the construction at Toyota Metal of the world's first plant-with a capacity to process 15,000 vehicles a month-for recycling automobile shredder residue (ASR) from end-of-life vehicles. Recyclable materials are sorted from ASR and processed into soundproofing materials used in various vehicle parts or for other purposes. By fiscal 2010 (ended March 2011), these had been used in a cumulative total of 20 million vehicles.
In the development of dismantling technologies, meanwhile, the Automobile Recycle Technical Center was established at Toyota Metal in 2001. In collaboration with TMC development and design divisions, the center worked on projects such as the development of easy-to-dismantle vehicle structures, development of appropriate and effective dismantling technologies, and development of equipment that facilitates dismantling. The results were sent as feedback to the Engineering Group and shared as appropriate with dismantling businesses.
From 2000, Toyota also worked on exploitation of recyclable resources, for instance by using bio-plastics in automobiles. In the Lexus CT 200h released in January 2011, a new type of bio-plastic made with bio-PET1 was used for the first time ever, serving as vehicle interior lining material.
Also, in connection with the Automobile Recycling Law established in July 2002, TMC, as the company then chairing the environmental committee of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JAMA), drew on the combined strength of Toyota Group companies to design and build appropriate systems. The automotive industry set up the Japan Automobile Recycling Promotion Center (established in 2000) and the Japan Auto Recycling Partnership (established in 2004) as the operating organizations to ensure highly accurate and highly efficient operation of those systems.
As for industrial waste generated from plants and other sources, thanks to the efforts of TMC's Production Engineering Group, such had been reduced to less than one quarter of the level in fiscal 1990 (ended June 1991) by the time of the second phase of the Toyota Environmental Action Plan. In the following third phase, all plants had achieved zero landfill waste by the end of December 2000. Also, as for incinerated waste, the aim had been to reduce the amount to less than one-third of 1990 levels by the end of fiscal 2005 (ended March 2006), a goal that was exceeded with a reduction of 87 percent. In the fourth phase, taking as the metric the total volume of substances released to the exterior including recycled goods sold, a target was set of reducing fiscal 2010 (ended March 2011) emissions per unit of net revenues by 20 percent compared to fiscal 2000 (ended March 2001).