Recycling Used Packaging Materials Helps Global Reduction of Carbon Emission
-- Bringing European Best Practices to Japan --
October 31, 2012
Konica Minolta Business Technologies, Inc. (Konica Minolta) has been expanding an initiative at its main warehouses in Japan to recycle foamed polystyrene used for packaging materials of multi-functional peripherals (MFPs), by melting polystyrene and molding it into ingots.
Konica Minolta globally promotes efforts that help “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” (collectively 3R) materials used for its products, services and operations, as part of its commitment to advance recycling and effective use of Earth's limited resources. Foamed polystyrene has been used for packaging materials of MFPs because of its high shock-absorbing performance, while it posed challenges to facilitate a more efficient way of recycling since bulky used foamed polystyrene is typically transported in large trucks by local recycling operators. Responding to the challenges in Europe, Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd., a sales company based in Basildon, the U.K., created a recycling center at its main warehouse in 2007 to crush and compact foamed polystyrene for more convenient and productive recycling. In 2010 Konica Minolta Business Solutions Deutschland GmbH, based in Langenhagen, Germany, also started crush-and-compact operation at its main warehouse.
This year Tokyo-based Konica Minolta decided to bring European best practices to Japan and installed thermal compactors at its two main domestic warehouses. Osaka Distribution Center (ODC) started thermal processing of foamed polystyrene in June 2012, on a trial basis, and went into full-scale operation during the summer. ODC takes care of most of Konica Minolta's logistics in the western part of Japan. Following suit of the steady operation at ODC, Tokyo Distribution Center (TDC) installed a thermal compactor and started processing at the end of August 2012. TDC handles most of Konica Minolta's logistics in the eastern part of Japan. Through the processing, foamed polystyrene is melted and molded into ingots, 100% of polystyrene, with the volume shrunk into about a hundredth of the original foam. These ingots are sold through recycling operators to manufacturers of recycled plastic products, among others, who help recycle of materials in a broader society.
Recycling of resources also helps prevention of global warming. Because the molded ingots are far smaller than the original foams, transportation of the used material emits less carbon. According to Konica Minolta, the number of trucks for transportation of the molded ingots, from ODC and TDC, will be reduced to one hundredth, compared to that for transportation of the original foams. That will bring down the annual carbon emission from transportation of the used foamed polystyrene from approximately 2,800 ton to approximately 200 ton, at ODC and TDC collectively.
Going forward, Konica Minolta will continue developing more 3R initiatives globally, promoting recycling of resources and cutting down carbon emissions.