Resource Circulation and Carbon Recycling

As part of response to the circular economy, Toshiba Group is working to circulate limited resources by using them efficiently in both its business activities as well as its products and services.

Resource Circulation Initiatives

We have mapped technologies and cased of initiatives that contribute to resource savings and to increasing the amounts of plastic resource circulation in each phase of design, such as procurement, production, distribution, use and collection. We aim to connect the resource circulating loop for each product.

*Click on the pictogram to see examples.

Reduction of resource input(Procurement phase)

Case: The world’s first lightweight, compact, high-power superconducting motor with a maximum output of 2 MW

Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation

As the introduction of electric vehicle (EV) is progressing in the mobility industry to reduce GHG emissions particularly CO2, Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation has recently developed a prototype of a compact, high-speed superconducting motor that is lightweight, has high- output density, and achieves high-speed rotation, making it applicable to aircraft engine.
While this prototype has maximum output of 2 MW, it has an outer diameter of 50 cm and an overall length of 70 cm (excluding the shaft), also achieves a compact size and lightweight that is “less than one-tenth” the size and weight of a general motor with the same output. It is the world’s first* high-speed superconducting motor to have such a high output.
Going forward, we aim to achieve further weight reduction and high reliability as an aircraft engine, and we will work with the mobility industry to achieve this goal in the late 2020s.

  • Survey by Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (as of June 23, 2022)
  1. Toshiba to Develop Lightweight, Compact, High-Power Superconducting Motor Prototype for Mobility Applications (Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation)
  2. Superconducting Motors are on the Flight Path to Carbon Neutral Planes, Part2 -The next step is to fly with them (Toshiba Clip)

Case: Reusing existing fixture: LED base light TENQOO series renewal kit

Imabari Complex, Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corporation

The LED base light TENQOO series renewal kit is a product that can easily replace existing fluorescent lamp fixture manufactured and sold by Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corporation to an LED lamp fixture.

By utilizing fluorescent lamp fixture, LED lighting can be achieved with resource saving. In addition, the amount of product waste is reduced more than when replacing the entire fixture. For example, in the case of an existing fluorescent lamp fixture weighing 4.1 kg that consists of a fixture body (1.8 kg) and a reflector (2.3 kg), only the reflector will be disposed of when using the renewal kit, which reduces the amount of waste by approximately 40% compared to disposing of the entire fluorescent lamp and fixture. This also contributes to reducing disposal costs including transport.

  • Renewal Kit (Japanese only) (Toshiba Lighthing & Technology Corporation)

TENQOO series: Structure of the renewal kit

Case: Improving resource circularity through reuse of existing parts, saving energy and extending the life: Renewal of elevators and escalators

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation

To reduce resource inputs and waste amounts, reuse of existing parts is one of the most important measures. Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation reuses existing parts when renewing elevators and escalators. We offer a varied lineup of renovated products; the amount of reuse varies by product. We can offer products for which up to 88% of their parts are reused. Renewing your elevator or escalator by partially upgrading it extends the service life of the installed equipment, reduces resource inputs and waste amounts, and achieves energy savings by adopting the latest control system.

<FY2022 results*>
(1) Amount of reuse in Japan: 3,800 tons
(2) Rate of reuse (Amount of reuse in Japan/Resources input in all models sold in Japan): 15.5%

  • The amount of reuse and reuse rate are not actual measurements. The figures were calculated based on specifications (floor, loading capacity, etc.) determined in advance to serve as the basis of calculation.
  1. RENEWAL (Japanese only) (Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation)

Highly efficient manufacturing(Production phase)

Case: Reducing machine oil input and waste oil of equipment in the site

Toshiba JSW Power Systems Pvt., Ltd.

Toshiba JSW Power Systems Pvt., Ltd. has repeatedly used machine oil for equipment in the site by monitoring the cleanliness and removing impurities and water, however, the company treated this machine oil as a waste when contamination exceeded a certain level because the equipment's capabilities were insufficient to fully remove the impurities and water. Therefore, the company undertook an initiative to extend the reusability period of machine oil and to reduce the input of new oil by installing a new filter unit that can remove more impurities and water than the previous one. Through this initiative, the company reduced new oil input (amount of waste oil) by 35% in FY2022 compared to FY2021.

Case: Effective use of resources through digitalized solutions for production processes

Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation

In circular business activities, reducing production losses in production processes is important,* and yield management for production loss control is one of the most important management issues that manufacturing sites focus on. In addition to reducing manufacturing costs, yield management reduces the amount of waste generated through optimization of components used from the viewpoint of effective resource usage.

Meister MES™, provided by Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation, equipped with automated production functions, general-purpose interface functions, and big data analysis linkage, which are necessary for next-generation manufacturing to improve yield and productivity. By supporting yield management at manufacturing sites and rendering services to help customers achieve effective use of their resources through reduction initiatives, we will contribute to the achievement of resource circulation, which is a social issue.

  1. Source: Categories of Circular Business Activities (Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry/Ministry of the Environment; June 24, 2020)
  • Meister MES™ (Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation) (Japanese only)

Overview of the functions of Meister MES™

Reduction of packaging material(Distribution phase)

Case: Reducing environmental impact through the improvement of resource circulation performance and efficient product loading by reviewing packaging materials

Toshiba Corporation Battery Division, Toshiba Hokuto Electronics Corporation, SBS Toshiba Logistics Corporation

Toshiba Group is engaged in an initiative to reduce environmental impact through the improvement of resource circulation performance in packaging materials and efficient product loading in the process of packaging products for shipment.

Toshiba Corporation Battery Division, in collaboration with Sekisui Kasei Co., Ltd. and SBS Toshiba Logistics Corporation, has developed a cushioning material using 100% recycled expanded polystyrene (EPS*1) that complies with European and U.S. regulations on heavy metals in packaging waste and meets high packaging test standards to ensure safety during transport. In addition, they have reduced CO2 emissions during transport by 20% by increasing the number of 20-ft shipping containers loaded by 25% compared to the conventional products.

Toshiba Hokuto Electronics Corporation reviewed the product specifications by returning to the product planning and the design stages using the concept of DFL*2 for industrial magnetron, a precision instrument, and decided to convert all packaging materials from plastic to cardboard. This achieves a compact size and reduces weight. As a result, the company successfully reduced the use of plastic cushioning materials by 100% (reducing plastic waste), CO2 emissions throughout the entire packaging material life cycle by 25%, and person-hours by 30%.

The initiatives of both companies were awarded at “Japan Packaging Contest 2022” and the “24th Logistics Environment Awards,” with SBS Toshiba Logistics Corporation.

  • Expanded Polystyrene
  • Design for Logistics: Products and packaging designs that consider distribution.

■Japan Packaging Contest 2022

■Logistics Environment Awards


■Toshiba Corporation Battery Division

Lithium-ion battery package that saves resources by using 100% recycled expanded polystyrene and improving load-carrying efficiency

■Toshiba Hokuto Electronics Corporation

Packaging materials entirely using cardboard for industrial magnetron, which save resources through its compact size and lighter weight and reduce environmental load by plastic reduction

Case: Reducing environmental impact by reducing plastic in packaging materials

Imabari Complex, Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corporation

Industrial lamps are glass products, and until now, transportation to customers including overseas customer has been thorough packaging using plastic cushioning materials from the viewpoint of quality assurance.
In recent years, the issue of ocean plastics has led many companies to advocate for plastic reduction, and Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corporation has also changed its cushioning material specification from plastic (air cap sheet and cocoon cushioning material) to cardboard to adopt the same perspective as the manufacturing industry.
Under the new specification, a drop test that is approximately two times more severe than the JIS standard has been cleared, and we have contributed to reducing environmental impact by reducing the use of plastic cushioning materials by 482 kg annually while maintaining quality.

Long life(Use phase)

Case: Extending the service life of production equipment using a digitalization solution for on-site management

Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation

For circular business activities require effective use of products through maintenance in the utilization process, improvement of equipment operating efficiency and operating rate, and to achieve long-term utilization.*

The “Digitalization Solution for On-Site Work Management Meister Meister AR Suite™” provided by Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation uses AR-based digital content to solve issues such as improving the efficiency of on-sit work for equipment operation and maintenance as well as skill transferring skills from experienced workers. Extending the service life of equipment by efficient operation and maintenance can be expected to reduce the frequency of upgrading, which is likely to curbing the generation of waste. We will contribute to the realization of a circular economy by rendering services to circular business activities from the viewpoint of the product life cycle.

  1. Source: Categories of Circular Business Activities (Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry/Ministry of the Environment; June 24, 2020)

Maintenance work for field equipment

Recycle(Collection phase)

Case: Introduction of resource circulation in Japan and a plastic sorting system

Toshiba Environmental Solutions Corporation

The importance of further promoting plastic resource circulation has been increasing due to the need to respond to the issues of marine plastic debris and climate change.

In April 2022, the “Act on Promotion of Resource Circulation for Plastics” (Plastic Resource Circulation Act) was brought into effect for the purpose of encouraging all kinds of associations to work on plastic resource circulation in the entire lifecycle of plastic products from their design to their disposal.

Waste plastics that were exported to developing countries have been causing water contamination due to detergent drain discharged during the recycling process. In addition, leaking of plastic residue into the sea due to inappropriate treatment has also been pointed out (Fig. 1). As such, developing countries have started to impose restrictions on the export of waste plastics. In January 2021, the Annex to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was revised and dirty waste plastics were added to the items subject to regulations. According to the revision, the consent of the other country is now required to export harmful plastic waste and plastic waste requiring special consideration.

Fig. 1 Example of untreated drain discharged from a recycling facility (left) and disposal of plastics that are not suitable for recycling (right)
(Excerpt from “Summary of the Criteria for distinguishing plastic wastes subject to control under the Japanese Basel Act from other wastes(817KB),” Ministry of the Environment)

In light of these international trends, Toshiba Environmental Solutions Corporation introduced a plastic sorting system in 2019 (Fig. 2). When an end-of-life electrical or electronic product is taken apart and crushed, mixed plastics, which are a mix of several different types of plastic, are generated. The plastic sorting system performs advanced automatic sorting of such plastics. By performing advanced sorting of plastics until a quality equivalent to exemption from the regulations under the Basel Convention is reached, that is, into plastics comprised of a single type of material that is transparent or single colored (Fig. 3), mixed plastics that used to be disposed of after the export regulations in developing countries came into force are now able to be reused. As a result, the recycling rate of end-of-life electrical and electronic products after 2019 when the plastic sorting system was introduced improved and the rate for FY2022 was 87%. Going forward, Toshiba Environmental Solutions Corporation will continue to contribute to promoting resource circulation (Fig. 4).

Fig. 2 Plastic sorting system

Fig. 3 Examples of plastic waste derived from used electrical and electronic equipment or E-waste
(Source: Summary of the Criteria for distinguishing plastic wastes subject to control under the Japanese Basel Act from other wastes(817KB), Ministry of the Environment)

Carbon Recycling Initiatives

To achieve a circular economy and carbon neutrality at the same time, we are also working on practical use of “carbon recycling (using CO2 as a resource)” in which CO2, a greenhouse gas, is recycled for new utilizations, such as synthetic fuel and chemical raw materials.

Case: CO2 recycling by P2C (Power to Chemicals)

Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation

CO2 captured from exhaust gas or atmosphere is electrolyzed into CO by the power derived from renewable energy (green power).

CO are synthesized with green H2 (H2 produced by electrolysis of water with green power) and finally reproduced into high value-added chemical products (SAF*, chemical raw materials, plastics, etc.).

This CO2 recycling technology using green power is called “Power to Chemicals” (P2C).

In this way, CO2 is recycled into and fixed in chemical products as carbon atoms and P2C contributes to not only resource utilization (circular economy) but also decarbonized society (carbon neutrality).

  1. SAF: Sustainable Aviation Fuel