Japanese Recycling Plant a Model of Resource Recovery
I type this as the Panasonic Japan Tour takes us to Kyoto to wind down our tour. This morning we spent time at the company's PETEC (Panasonic Eco Technology Center) recycling facility in Yashiro, Hyogo Prefecture. Not only is PETEC a hyper-modern recycling plant, it is a research and development facility as well as an educational center. Sparkling clean, relatively silent and exuding the ideals of Japanese kaizen, PETEC is a model of how unwanted home appliances can become a valuable resource--and offer jobs to those, including the disabled, who have difficulty finding work in Japan. Over 85 percent of all materials procured throughout Japan that find their way to PETEC find another life, including rare earth metals, plastics, copper, steel and of course glass. Over 1.4 billion washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioning units and other appliances are dismantled and shredded. The equivalent of 95 jumbo jets, 81 Buddha statues and over 158,000 cars have been salvaged from aluminum, copper and steel. But what is particularly forward thinking about PETEC is that product designers and engineers frequently visit the plant for a critical reason: they must dismantle and disassemble the products they designed in order to create new methods for improving the recycling rate of their gadgets at the end of their life-cycles. This is one of many steps Panasonic is taking towards its 2018 goals. Touring the plant is a must for any manufacturing company employee. Enjoy the photos!