Resource Conservation and Waste Reduction

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Reducing Waste

The recoverable reserves of aluminum, the primary raw material used by the UACJ Group, are in greater abundance, and will be recoverable for a longer period, than those of other metals. We still believe, however, that promoting recycling and reuse is important for passing resources on to future generations. Furthermore, the attention now being paid to issues such as marine plastic waste, is drawing more attention to the realization of a recycling-oriented economy as an important issue for society. In addition to conventional waste recycling, therefore, we are also vigorously supporting closed recycling* for items such as aluminum cans and printing plates, and striving to reduce waste. In pursuit of our environmental activity objective of realizing a recycling-oriented society, we will work continuously to reduce our generation of industrial waste per unit of production and promote 5R activities – the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) plus Refuse and Repair.

* Closed recycling is the recycling of aluminum used in a specific type of product into raw material to produce the same type of product.

Fiscal 2019 Results

The UACJ Group is reducing the volume of industrial waste it generates and pursuing activities aimed at promoting the recycling of materials.

In fiscal 2019, our main business locations generated 20,535 tons of industrial waste, or about 6.2% less than in fiscal 2018. This decline resulted mainly from a downturn in production volume. To reduce the amount of waste plastic we generate, we are revising our product packing standards and considering ways to simplify product packing by, for example, using less protective sheeting.

The UACJ Group is also continuously working to achieve zero emissions, which we define as less than 1% of the total industrial waste we generate going directly to landfills. In fiscal 2019, this figure was 0.33% and we again achieved our zero emissions goal.

Looking to the future, our objective is to contribute to the building of a recycling-oriented society by reducing and recycling industrial waste, and pursuing ways to turn waste into valuable materials.

Amounts of Industrial Waste Generated (Japan)

Amounts of Industrial Waste Generated (Japan)

* Measurement scope: UACJ Group business locations in Japan.

Breakdown of Waste by Handling Approach (FY 2019・Japan)

Breakdown of Waste by Handling Approach (FY 2019・Japan)

Amounts of Industrial Waste Generated (Overseas)

Amounts of Industrial Waste Generated (Overseas)

* Measurement scope: UACJ (Thailand) Co., Ltd.、UACJ Extrusion (Thailand) Co., Ltd.、UACJ Extrusion Czech s.r.o.、UACJ Extrusion (Tianjin) Corporation、PT. UACJ-Indal Aluminium、UACJ Foundry & Forging (Vietnam) Co., Ltd.、UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries, Inc.、UACJ Foil Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.

Waste Amounts by Type and Main Post-Recycling Application (FY 2019)

Waste Type Tons Generated Percent Recycled Main Post-Recycling Application
Sludge 9,261 90 Raw material for cement
Waste oil 3,313 97 Fuel
Wood waste 2,061 88 Fuel, fertilizer
Slag 1,242 100 Roadbed material
Waste plastic 1,484 25 Fuel

Industrial Waste Reduction Examples (Fiscal 2019 Activities)

Business Location Theme Reduction
Fukui Works Switching to different wastewater treatment chemicals to reduce the amount of sludge generated 120
UACJ Extrusion Nagoya Corporation, Anjo Works Installation of additional centrifugal sludge separators 60
UACJ Metal Components Corporation, Shiga Works Increasing internal processing capacity by improving processing facilities for waste liquid 50

Industrial Waste Subcommittee

At UACJ, the Industrial Waste Subcommittee has been established mainly with representatives of business locations generating significant amounts of industrial waste. The subcommittee meets regularly to promote reductions and proper processing of industrial waste by establishing a common understanding of separation and processing information, and by examining and promoting improvements in separation practices, and establishing a common understanding of reduction measures, at individual business locations.

Reuse of Cushioning Materials (Batten cleats)

In the past, batten cleats, which are used to cushion extruded products when they are shipped, were generally used only once before being discarded as industrial waste by the shipment receiver. Batten cleats, however, are very durable and show very little wear even after being used multiple times. Therefore, in fiscal 2018, we began to reuse these items as an effective application of resources. With cooperation among various works, batten cleats are now being returned to the places where they came from by means such as simply placing them back on the trucks in which they were used. Reuse reduced the amount of batten cleats discarded in fiscal 2019 by 13 tons compared to fiscal 2018 and accounted for a major decrease in the amount of industrial waste we generated.

Promoting Recycling of Aluminum Cans

Aluminum is light-weight, does not rust, conveys heat well, and is highly recyclable*1. Given the outstanding qualities of the metal from which they are made, aluminum cans are recycled at a rate*2 of 93.6% (fiscal 2018). The UACJ Group is a member of the Japan Aluminum Can Recycling Association and is participating in that organization’s efforts to recover aluminum beverage cans. Individual UACJ works purchase used aluminum cans for use as raw material - for example, in can-to-can recycling - thereby supporting aluminum can recycling activities and contributing to the creation of a recycling-oriented society.

  • *1 Recycling aluminum requires only about 3% of the amount of energy needed to produce new aluminum from bauxite.
  • *2 Aluminum cans collected and recycled in Japan (including for export purposes) as a percent of all aluminum cans purchased by consumers in Japan.

Illustration of Can-to-Can Recycling

Illustration of Can-to-Can Recycling

Reduction of Wood Waste

For some of the materials we make, we were using mainly wood as a packing material. However, wooden packing material cannot be recycled and, therefore, becomes industrial waste. In response to this situation, we replaced the wooden packing material with cardboard, which is generally recycled.

Amounts of Wood Waste Generated

Amounts of Wood Waste Generated

Thermal Recycling of Packing Materials

The processing of waste plastic consisting of the protective sheeting, banding, and other materials used to pack products for shipment is entrusted to outside companies. Most of this material is used as a fuel in thermal recycling that turns waste into electricity.

Activities Aimed at Reducing Plastic Waste

Marine plastic waste has become the focus of attention as a global environmental problem. Moreover, China and other Asian countries have halted imports of waste plastic, making the disposal of plastic more difficult than in the past. The UACJ Group is working to curb the generation of waste plastic through measures such as simplifying our use of protective plastic sheeting in packing products. We are also collaborating with customers in furthering the simplified and reduced use of protective sheeting in packing products to help reduce the amount of waste plastic customers dispose of.

Activities Aimed at Reducing Office Waste

At UACJ, individual offices act to protect the environment by separating their waste (separating paper from plastic) and segregating materials (newspapers, copier paper, magazines, and cardboard) for recycling.

Effective Use of Water Resources

Approximately 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, but only about 0.01% of all of the earth’s water is fresh water - water that can be easily used by humans.

From a global perspective, these precious freshwater resources are recyclable. With uneven distribution, however, there are already countries and regions facing serious risks of water shortages. Across the world, approximately 700 million people live with inadequate water supplies, and approximately 1.8 million children die every year because of a lack of clean water.

The UACJ Group strives to use and manage water resources effectively based on its keen awareness of these circumstances. Each of our business locations tracks its water usage by water source. Data on our water usage has been tallied and is included in the material balance information presented in the Business Activities and Environmental Impacts section.

Fiscal 2019 Performance

The UACJ Group obtains water for its business activities mainly from public water systems, groundwater sources, and rivers (including sources of industrial water) with the latter being the largest source.

Prior to release, wastewater undergoes neutralization and flocculation/sedimentation treatment and is tested to ensure that pH, COD, SS, and other regulatory water-quality standards* are met.

In fiscal 2019, the UACJ Group used a total of 13,129,000 tons of water, 956,000 tons less than it used in fiscal 2018. This decrease in water usage resulted mainly from a decline in production volume.

* pH: Hydrogen ion concentration, COD: Chemical oxygen demand, SS: Suspended solids

Volumes of Water Used and Wastewater Generated

Graph of Volumes of Water Used and Wastewater Generated

* Measurement scope: 14 locations consisting of UACJ (Nagoya, Fukui, Fukaya, Nikko), UACJ Color Aluminum Corporation, UACJ Extrusion Nagoya Corporation (Nagoya, Anjo), UACJ Extrusion Oyama Corporation, UACJ Extrusion Shiga Corporation, UACJ Extrusion Gunma Corporation, UACJ Foil Corporation (Shiga, Nogi, Isesaki), UACJ Foundry & Forging Corporation

Volume of Water Used by Overseas Business Locations

Volume of Water Used by Overseas Business Locations

* Measurement scope: UACJ (Thailand) Co., Ltd.、UACJ Extrusion (Thailand) Co., Ltd.、UACJ Extrusion Czech s.r.o.、UACJ Extrusion (Tianjin) Corporation、PT. UACJ-Indal Aluminium、UACJ Foundry & Forging (Vietnam) Co., Ltd.、UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries, Inc.、UACJ Foil Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.

Water Usage by Source

(Thousands of tons)

Source Fiscal 2017 Fiscal 2018 Fiscal 2019
Public water system 444 443 415
Groundwater 3,315 3,398 3,301
Rivers (industrial water) 9,981 10,333 9,503
Total 13,739 14,175 13,219