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 reduce industrial waste, reduce the burden of chemical substances, prevent air and water pollution, and use resources effectively.
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 2019, 378.2 thousand tons of industrial waste was generated, of which 13.2 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 2019 targets, with a final disposal rate of 0.3% 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 are also working towards a goal of zero landfill waste plastic by fiscal 2021, having already reduced it to 45 tons in fiscal 2019.
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 is essentially prohibited in Japan.
Reducing industrial waste from construction materials and housing businesses
Asahi Kasei Construction Materials recycles trimmings of HebelTM 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.
- *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 PRTR*1 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 VOC*2 emissions were reduced by 93% and 89%, respectively from fiscal 2000. We will continue to enhance control of operation and equipment to prevent any accidental release.
- *1PRTRPollutant 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.
- *2VOCVolatile 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.
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.
A report on the prevention of groundwater contamination can be found at the Water Resource Preservation page.
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).