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. 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 achieve zero emissions.

* 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 2018 Results

The UACJ Group is moving forward with efforts to reduce industrial waste and pursuing activities aimed at achieving zero emissions.

For us, “zero emissions” means that direct landfill waste comprises less than 1% of all industrial waste generated. For fiscal 2018, we achieved zero emissions with a direct landfill waste ratio of 0.25%.

In fiscal 2018, the total amount of industrial waste generated at our principal business locations came to 21,891 tons, an increase of 6.2% compared to fiscal 2017. This increase resulted mainly because China’s new policy of forbidding the importation of waste materials made it necessary to process waste plastic, which had been a valuable commodity, as industrial waste, and because malfunctioning dehydrators in the wastewater treatment facilities of some business locations caused the temporary output of sludge with high water content.

Going forward, we will strive to maintain zero emissions by reducing industrial waste, recycling, and turning waste into substances of value.

Amounts of Industrial Waste Generated

Graph of Amounts of Industrial Waste Generated

Breakdown of Waste by Handling Approach (FY 2018)

Graph of Breakdown of Waste by Handling Approach (FY 2018)

  • Measurement Scope: UACJ Group business locations in Japan.

Waste Amounts by Type and Main Post-Recycling Application (FY 2018)

Waste Type Tons Generated Percent Recycled Main Post-Recycling Application
Sludge 10,284 88 Raw material for cement
Waste oil 2,990 97 Fuel
Wood waste 2,582 95 Fuel, fertilizer
Slag 1,265 100 Roadbed material
Waste plastic 1,603 32 Fuel

Industrial Waste Reduction Examples (Fiscal 2018 Activities)

Business Location Theme Reduction
Nagoya Works Reducing the amount oil-contaminated wastewater in the underground pit 110
Fukui Works Using different wastewater treatment chemicals to reduce the amount of sludge generated 70
Multiple business locations Reusing batten cleats (cushioning materials) 60
Reusing waste pallets

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 2018 by 13 tons compared to fiscal 2017 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 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

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 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 2018 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 2018, the UACJ Group used a total of 14,342,000 tons of water, 436,000 tons more than it used in fiscal 2017. This increase in water usage, despite lower production volume, resulted mainly from a change in the makeup of products manufactured and the need to operate under irregular conditions on multiple occasions.

* 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

Water Usage by Source

(Thousands of tons)

Source Fiscal 2016 Fiscal 2017 Fiscal 2018
Public water system 538 482 488
Groundwater 3,318 3,444 3,521
Rivers (industrial water) 10,934 9,981 10,333
Total 14,791 13,906 14,342