PETEC's role is truly one of "treasure hunter." The company's role is to recover as many high quality recyclable materials as possible with a sense of hunting for treasure in home appliances that have fulfilled their role.
For example, when we dispose of TVs that no longer work, people pay to ask retail stores to take the appliance away according to the Home Appliance Recycling Law(*1). There are four product categories designated under the law - TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators/freezers, and washing machines - and the volume of these type of end-of-life consumer products and are collected in Japan totals 18.79 million units annually (source: FY2009 Actual Figures by the Association for Electric Home Appliances).
These used home appliances from households end up at recycling plants throughout Japan, and PETEC is one of these plants.
The law came into effect in April 2001 and was created with the goal of giving new live to items such as raw materials through manufacturers' recycling plants by collecting home appliances, which had been thrown away as bulk wastes. The law applies to four product categories - TVs (flat-panel and CRT), air conditioners, refrigerators/freezers, and washing machines/clothes dryers. These four products contain a large volume of useful materials such as steel, copper, aluminum, and glass. The recycling fee paid by the consumer who throws away a used home appliance is used for purposes such as recycling products at factories.
The law regulates the recycling rates as follows:
|55% or more|
|50% or more|
|65% or more|
|Air conditioner||70% or more|
|Refrigerator/freezer||60% or more|
For PETEC, a broken TV is not just garbage. This is because the various Materials that the TV is made from, such as glass and metal, are resources that can be used again. PETEC removes these recyclable materials from end-of-life products and leverage them as materials to produce new products.
This is the "from products to products" recycling that PETEC is aiming for. In other words, this is recycling to help realize zero waste by creating a precious raw material cycle of produce → use → return → utilize, not the one-way flow of produce → use → dispose. Therefore, PETEC focuses on researching and developing new recycling technology. In addition, the knowledge gained at the actual recycling site is shared with the R&D Department of Panasonic and its group subsidiaries, and this knowledge acts as feedback to design new products.
Today, there is a need to create a recycling-oriented society to carefully make use of limited global natural resources and pass on a rich natural environment to the next generation. PETEC is working to reduce the volume of waste and increase recycling with the hope of moving one step close to such a future.