Home Appliances

Plastic Material Recycling

Developing closed-loop recycling technology for plastics.
Reusing recycled plastics as raw material for new electrical appliances.

R&D category Air-Conditioning, Living
Purpose, feature or effect of the R&D Environmental Mitigation Measures


diagram: Plastic Material Recycling

Mitsubishi Electric has developed technologies for separating and recycling plastic materials from used home appliances to make new products. Plastic materials salvaged from dismantled home appliances are a mixture of various types of plastics. Because they are a mixture, they have little material value, and used to be burned or disposed as landfill. Therefore, we have developed a unique method for automatically separating mixed plastics using specific gravity and static electricity. Using this method, the three major types of plastics that are found in home appliances—polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) —can be separated to high purity and recovered in large quantities. We have also developed technology for quality improvement (modification), which gives recycled materials longer life and greater value. These technologies make it possible to recycle as much as 70% of all plastics that are recovered from used home appliances.

Technology Point

photo: Recovery of polypropylene resin with over 99% purity

Recovery of polypropylene resin with over 99% purity

Our unique technology for separating mixed plastics by specific gravity and eliminating contaminations in a later process allows PP to be recovered at a high material purity of over 99%.

Recovery of PS and ABS at a high purity of over 99%

PS and ABS are also recovered from mixed plastics at a high purity of over 99%, using our unique specific gravity and electrostatic separation technologies and contaminant elimination technology.

Giving long-term heat resistance of recycled materials through modification

By adding an optimum amount of additive (metal deactivator, antioxidant) to the collected materials, we have made it possible for recycled plastics to retain their durability for more than ten years at a high temperature of 70°C.

photo: Giving long-term heat resistance of recycled materials through modification

Adding value to recycled materials

We developed recycled materials with high added value by adding flame retardance (UL94 0.8mm V-0) and weather-resistance. We have increased the use of recycled materials.

Using recycled plastics in new home appliances

Through the use of quality improvement technologies that give recycled materials durability and functionality, Mitsubishi Electric promotes the use of recycled materials in consumer durable goods such as refrigerators and dishwashing machines.