Pollution and Natural Resources | Environment | Sustainability | Asahi Kasei

Pollution and Natural Resources


Recycling is a major plank of the Asahi Kasei Group's Global Environmental Policy, and we work to efficiently utilize resources and energy and to reduce the environmental burden throughout the entire life cycle in our business activities. In order to contribute to a circular economy, we have worked to reduce industrial waste, reduce the burden of chemical substances, prevent air and water pollution, and use resources effectively.
We are also contributing to the creation of a circular economy to achieve a carbon neutral and sustainable world as part of our focus on Care for Earth, under our "Cs+ for Tomorrow 2021" medium-term management initiative (fiscal 2019–2021).

Reducing industrial waste

The Asahi Kasei Group is working to reduce the amount of industrial waste for final disposal through the "3-Rs" of reduction, reuse, and recycling.
In fiscal 2020, 334.1 thousand tons of industrial waste was generated, of which 34.7 thousand tons was specially managed industrial waste.
We adopted targets of (1) an overall final disposal rate of 0.3% or less and (2) a final disposal rate for non-construction companies of 0.1% or less of the total amount of industrial waste generated. As a result, we achieved our overall 2020 targets, with a final disposal rate of 0.1% and a final disposal rate for non-construction companies of 0.1%. We will continue to promote the reduction of final disposal rates through sorting and the selection of disposal sites.
We have also worked towards the goal of zero landfill waste plastic by fiscal 2021, and we have already reduced it to zero tons as of fiscal 2020, thus achieving our fiscal 2021 goal.
Waste containing PCBs* is stored under strict control in stainless steel vessels. Plans for disposal are advancing, including for waste with minimal amounts of PCBs. We are also systematically advancing plans to identify the electrical equipment currently in use that contains PCBs, and to implement early replacement.
We enhanced our management of off-site treatment of industrial waste by expanding the use of electronic manifests. We also performed periodic on-site inspections of consigned firms to ensure that proper treatment is performed in accordance with sound systems of control.

  • *PCBs(polychlorinated biphenyls) are persistent and pose a risk to the living environment and human health. Their manufacture and use are essentially prohibited in Japan.
  • Waste generated 334.1(100%) On-site treatment Recycling 85.2(25.5%) Volume reduction by incineration, dehydration, etc. 0.6(0.2%) Landfill 0.0(0.0%) Effluent waste 248.3(74.3%) Off-site treatment Recycling 246.4(73.8%) Volume reduction by incineration, dehydration, etc 1.6(0.5%) Landfill 0.3(0.1%) Total Recycling 331.7(99.3%) Volume reduction 2.2(0.6%) Landfill 0.3(0.1%) *Excluding industrial waste generated at the construction sites of Asahi Kasei Homes. Note that sums of individual figures may differ from the totals shown due to rounding. (thousand tons)
    FY2020 flow of industrial waste
  • Overall Fiscal year Fiscal year 2016 0.33% Fiscal year 2017 0.24% Fiscal year 2018 0.21% Fiscal year 2019 0.28% 2020 0.09%、Non-construction businesses Fiscal year 2016 0.13% Fiscal year 2017 0.21% Fiscal year 2018 0.17% Fiscal year 2019 0.08% Fiscal year 2020 0.05% Overall targets 0.30%、Overall targets for non-construction businesses 0.10%
    Final disposal rates (overall, non-construction-related)
  • Fiscal year 2017 214t, Fiscal year 2018 146t, Fiscal year 2019 45t, Fiscal year 2020 0t
    Landfill volume of plastic waste
  • Final disposal volume Fiscal year 2000 26.8thousand tons, Fiscal year 2016 1.1thousand tons, Fiscal year 2017 0.8thousand tons, Fiscal year 2018 0.7thousand tons, Fiscal year 2019 1.1thousand tons, Fiscal year 2020 0.3thousand tons
    Final disposal volume
  • Final disposal by category of Debris 34.9% Waste alkali 22.9% Sludge 17.2% Scrap metal 6.6% Waste oil 4.9% Others 13.4%
    FY2020 final disposal by category of waste*
    * Excluding waste generated at the construction sites of Asahi Kasei Homes

Reducing industrial waste from construction materials and housing businesses

Asahi Kasei Construction Materials recycles trimmings of Hebel™ autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) panels in its own plants and others, utilizing its certification for "wide-area recycling"* which permits the transport of waste from different construction sites. Asahi Kasei Homes is also reducing the volume of waste as well as implementing sorted waste collection at housing construction sites. With these measures, waste for final disposal has been reduced to zero at new construction sites.

  • Building sites→AAC trimmings→Certified plants of Asahi Kasei Construction Materials Hozumi Plant, Iwakuni Plant, Sakai Plant→Hebel TM AAC panels, Building sites→AAC trimmings→Recycling consignee (Kanto area)→Cement material, lightweight artificial soil
    Recycle flow for trimmings of Hebel™ AAC panels
  • New construction+Dismantling Fiscal year 2000 55.7thousand tons, Fiscal year 2016 11.8thousand tons, Fiscal year 2017 11.7thousand tons, Fiscal year 2018 14.1thousand tons, Fiscal year 2019 14.1thousand tons, Fiscal year 2020 10.2thousand tons
    Final disposal industrial waste generated at construction sites
  • *Certificate for wide-area recycling: For certain parties, who perform recycling in a wide-area, Japan's Minister of the Environment eliminates the need to obtain separate waste transport permits for each local area.The system was established to promote further recycling of industrial waste.

Reducing emissions of chemical substances

The Asahi Kasei Group works to reduce the release of chemicals substances specified in the PRTR1 Law and other chemical substances which we have voluntarily designated for reduction with priority based on the degree of hazardousness and amount of release. As shown in the graphs below, releases of PRTR-specified substances and VOC2 emissions were reduced by 94% and 91%, respectively from fiscal 2000. We will continue to enhance control of operation and equipment to prevent any accidental release.

  • to the atmosphere+to water Fiscal year 2000 4,890tons, Fiscal year 2016 410tons, Fiscal year 2017 390tons, Fiscal year 2018 570tons, Fiscal year 2019 350tons Fiscal year 2020 300tons Notes *No releases to soil. *The number of PRTR-specified substances changed in FY2010 due to a regulatory revision.
    Releases of PRTR-specified substances
  • Releases of VOCs Fiscal year 2000 10,400t, Fiscal year 2016 1,300t, Fiscal year 2017 1,350t, Fiscal year 2018 1,400t, Fiscal year 2019 1,100t, Fiscal year 2020 920t
    Releases of VOCs
  • 1 PRTR Pollutant release and transfer register. Under the PRTR Law, releases to the environment and off-site transfers of specific hazardous chemical substances must be monitored and recorded for each production facility and operating site. Results are reported to the government, which publishes aggregated results.
  • 2 VOC Volatile organic compound. Although the term generally applies to any organic compound which is in gaseous state at the time of release, regulations for the control of their release exclude methane and some fluorocarbons which do not form oxidants.

Air pollution

The Asahi Kasei Group works to control emissions and prevent spills in order to avoid the pollution of air, water, soil, and groundwater. Measures to prevent noxious odors include the installation of exhaust gas absorption equipment and increasing the capacity of our wastewater treatment facilities. To prevent soil pollution, we perform tests and take appropriate measures in accordance with the Soil Contamination Countermeasures Act and related regulations. Substances covered by the Air Pollution Control Act are managed within regulatory standards.

  • Nobeoka+Mizushima+Moriyama+Fuji+Ohito+Kawasaki+Suzuka+Other sites Fiscal year Fiscal year 2016 6,100tons, Fiscal year 2017 6,600tons, Fiscal year 2018 6,000tons, Fiscal year 2019 6,300tons, 2020 5,200tons
    SOx emissions
  • Nobeoka+Mizushima+Moriyama+Fuji+Ohito+Kawasaki++Suzuka+Other sites Fiscal year 2016 3,300t, Fiscal year 2017 3,300t, Fiscal year 2018 3,300t, Fiscal year 2019 3,400t, Fiscal year 2020 3,600t
    NOx emissions
  • Nobeoka+Mizushima+Moriyama+Fuji+Ohito+Kawasaki+Suzuka+Other sites Fiscal year 2016 100t, Fiscal year 2017 110t, Fiscal year 2018 140t, Fiscal year 2019 90t, Fiscal year 2020 110t
    Soot and dust emissions

Effective resource use

As indicated by the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision at the G20 summit in 2019, the issue of marine plastic waste will require global cooperation to solve. In order to understand how marine microplastics are generated, we are working in collaboration with Kyushu University and participating in awareness-raising activities with industry groups dealing with proper use and disposal of plastics. It is important to make effective use of used plastic resources, so we also promote the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).

Initiative for Achieving a Circular Economy

As part of our sustainability efforts, which are symbolized by the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), we are working with academia and other companies to achieve a circular economy.
For the material recycling of polyethylene, we have launched the "BLUE Plastics" project* with the technical support of IBM Japan, Ltd. We are striving to make a circular economy a reality through collaboration with recycling company Toyama Kankyo Seibi; Mebius Packaging Co., Ltd., which specializes in molding and final product processes; and brand owner Lion Corporation.

  • Collection Separation Toyama Kankyo Seibi Co., Ltd.→Blending of raw materials Pelletizing Asahi Kasei Corp. Academia Material regeneration technology: Fukuoka University Mechanism analysis: Kobe University→Molding Processing Mebius Packaging Co., Ltd. Lion Corporation→Collection Separation
  • * Overview of the "BLUE Plastics" Project
    The "BLUE Plastics" project was launched by Asahi Kasei Corp. to create a digital platform that promotes resource recycling. IBM Japan will support the construction of the digital platform by utilizing blockchain technology that runs on the IBM Cloud. Blockchain technology is an irreversible database technology that maintains a continuous record of operations, which ensures traceability as it is accessible to all parties involved and cannot be altered. Toyama Kankyo Seibi, Mebius Packaging Co., Ltd., and Lion Corporation, which together specialize in the collection, pelletizing, molding, and conversion of waste into final products, will collaborate using IBM Japan’s blockchain technology to accelerate the achievement of a circular economy.