Environment – Plastic Recycling Comes of Age

A Model Business for a Sustainable Future

Japan's Home Appliance Recycling Law, enacted in 1998 and enforced since 2001, compelled the country's manufacturers to set up systems and confront the challenge of transforming the nation into a recycling-based society head-on.

Mitsubishi Electric responded by in 1999 by establishing its first recycling operation, Hyper Cycle Systems. The initial goal was the clean and efficient treatment of recovered materials and any resulting waste. However, within a few short years, the company realized the operation was a seed that could be cultivated into the creation of unprecedented industry-sustainable recycling.

Today, Hyper Cycle Systems is that and much more: it is Japan's leading light in home appliance recycling. It boasts advanced technologies, machinery, and automated processes custom-developed by Mitsubishi Electric for the recovery of reusable metal, glass, and plastic materials on a mass scale, all done in a modern, amazingly clean facility equipped with intelligent air purification and air-quality monitoring systems.

Green Cycle Systems, Japan's first large-scale, high-purity plastic recycling center—also established by Mitsubishi Electric—was added in 2010. This company takes the granulated mixture of plastics recovered by Hyper Cycle Systems and separates them into reusable plastics on a scale of unprecedented magnitude. The combined output of these two enterprises has increased Mitsubishi Electric's rate of recycled, industrial-grade plastics from 6% to a paradigm-shifting 70%.

This unprecedented economy-of-scale indicates that plastic recycling has come of age as a viable eco-business, while positioning Mitsubishi Electric at the forefront of recycling in Japan, and indeed, the world. It is compelling evidence of sustainability at work—a completely new, sustainable recycling industry expected to thrive indefinitely as a mission-critical business for a recycling-based society. It is a model for other companies to follow in the development of other sustainable businesses capable of producing industrial-grade materials from old, end-of-lifecycle products.

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Current State of Home Appliance Recycling
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