The issue of how to efficiently utilize non-renewable resources on the earth is a major challenge for manufacturing industries. For many years, Toyota has been taking initiatives toward establishing a recycling-based society, for example by building a value chain for recycling end-of-life vehicles more than 40 years ago, and promoting activities to utilize resources efficiently and reduce water consumption at production and non-production bases with the aim of improving material productivity. Currently, Toyota is taking various steps to reuse and recycle resources in all four stages of the automobile lifecycle.development/design, production/logistics, sales, and disposal.
Design and Development
Toyota became the first automaker* to introduce heavy machinery for dismantling, which had come into wide use for removing parts such as wiring harnesses, into its development division, and to begin evaluating dismantlability at the new vehicle development stage, feeding the results back to the design stage. Through this initiative, Toyota aims to improve vehicle dismantlability even further.
*Toyota in-house survey
Production and Logistics
Since Toyota debuted the Prius 16 years ago, it has built its own recovery network to collect end-of-life hybrid vehicle (HV) batteries to be recycled. To date, Toyota has collected 30,000 end-of-life HV batteries and recycled all of them. HV batteries contain precious resources such as nickel, cobalt, and rare earth elements. Toyota has developed and adopted the world’s first technologies to enable these precious resources to be reused in new batteries. It is expected that tens of thousands of end-of-life HV batteries will be generated by the middle of the 2020s. Toyota has also developed the world’s first technologies for reusing or recycling HV batteries. The batteries are reused as replacement batteries or as stationary batteries in photovoltaic power generation systems. Toyota further plans to promote the skillful reuse of batteries from end-of-life vehicles as part of measures to utilize renewable energy in an environmentally considerate manner. When even these reused batteries finally reach the end of their use cycle, their metal parts are recycled into new batteries again. Toyota is always thinking about the importance of effectively using limited resources and is expanding its initiatives to Europe, the U.S. and other countries.
In order to pass on the beautiful Earth to future generations, Toyota is implementing various environmental protection measures, such as measures to reduce exhaust gas emissions and manage the usage of chemical substances. It is said that approximately 100,000 types of chemical substances are currently being manufactured and sold in the world. Recently, the concept that each corporation must assess the danger of each chemical substance it uses and use it under appropriate control has become mainstream. Each corporation is required to identify the chemical substances it uses and the risks involved, take actions appropriate to the evaluation results and assessed risk, and provide pertinent information to the government and society. Toyota continues to reduce the release of chemical substances covered by the PRTR Law from its plants. Additionally, in cooperation with its supply chain, Toyota is working to reduce the amount of substances of concern (SOCs) contained in its products. Toyota is also aware of the critical need for nature and biodiversity conservation, and is engaged in contributing to a society in harmony with nature through its automotive business and social contribution activities.
Development and Design
In FY2012, almost 100% of Toyota vehicles produced were certified as meeting the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (U-LEV) or higher standards by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
Since the turn of the century, regulations on chemical substances have been getting tighter all over the world, like the EU ELV1 Directive and REACH2 regulation. These regulations require corporations to collect information on the chemical substance content of their products and manage their supply chains. In response to these chemical regulations, Toyota has built a chemical substance management framework in cooperation with its suppliers. In FY2012, Toyota propagated this framework globally through revision of the Toyota Green Purchasing Guidelines at its regional companies (in Europe, North America, South America, China, Asia, and South Africa, etc.) and supplier meetings.
Production and Logistics
Since the previous year, Toyota continued efforts to limit use of solvents in washing processes and recapture a larger percentage of solvent and use deionized water (DI water) for washing instead of waterborne cleaning solvent. As a result of these VOC reduction activities, total VOC emissions from Toyota body paint lines averaged 20g/m2 in FY2012.
*Volatile Organic Compounds
In order to develop sustainable next-generation mobility, Toyota is proceeding with plans to construct a new R&D facility in an area straddling Toyota City and Okazaki City. In pursuing this plan, Toyota aims to achieve a balance between technological development and environmental conservation and therefore is working together with people in these communities on a wide variety of activities, as well as actively sharing information.
Forests serve to fix CO2 and provide wood, which is renewable resource, function as biodiversity conservation and soil and water conservation. Toyota conducts its forestry efforts as social contribution activities and as businesses because we believe forests not only contribute to the establishment of a low-carbon society, a recycling-based society and a society in harmony with nature, but are also an essential foundation for communities and society. When we formulated the Forest of Toyota project in 1992, we started by confronting the issues facing forests today. We continue to expand various initiatives aimed at sustainable forestry activities, through "human resources development and partnership with communities" and "establishing a society that maintains harmony with forests."
Forest of Toyota (Japan)