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!

 
washing machines are about to be crushed

washing machines are about to be crushed

 
flat screen TVs about to get a new life

flat screen TVs about to get a new life

air conditioning units dissembled at PETEC

air conditioning units dissembled at PETEC

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.