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Toride Plant Achieves 100% Resource Recovery of Industrial Wastes
Since obtaining ISO 14001 certification in December, 2001, Toride Plant (Toride-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture) of Komori Corporation has systematically advanced its environmental efforts in annual bases, and has now achieved 100% resource recovery of industrial wastes discharged from the plant.
"One-hundred percent resource recovery" (or "zero waste") refers to efforts by Toride plant to completely eliminate wastes that are usually disposed of in landfills as worthless trash. This is done for every industrial wastes produced at Toride Plant by selling any of the wastes that have commercial value and recycling other wastes as resources for reprocessing or recovery,. The final disposal of trash is becoming an increasingly difficult problem for our communities with the shortages and increasing remoteness of available landfill sites, as well as the problems of illegal dumping and pollution in many areas. The national government has also been trying to solve these problems by introducing the Basic Law for Establishing a Recycling-based Society to reduce waste, and by promoting resource recovery such as recycling and optimizing the use of landfills.
To fulfill its duty to the community, Komori's Toride Plant has taken on these challenges by continuously increasing its efforts toward 100% resource recovery over a two-year period in such ways as more thoroughly sorting wastes, reusing wastes within the plant, and by developing partnerships with businesses involved in resource recovery and recycling.
Two of the final issues that had to be faced in achieving zero waste were how to reprocess tubes that contain mainly polyvinyl chloride (these tubes previously had to be disposed of at landfills as incinerating them posed the risk of producing toxic dioxins) and how to reprocess the grindstones used in grinding machinery (these are very difficult to break down into small pieces since they are large and extremely hard).
These two items can now be reprocessed with the help of recycling industries, thus making it possible to achieve 100% resource recovery. After leaving the plant, polyvinyl chloride tube components are first taken in by an intermediary processing company where the tubes are cut into small pieces. These are then transported to a specialist recycling business where they are processed by a high-temperature gasification melting system at 1,200 degrees centigrade that purified gases and metal materials can be recovered. Any residual ash can also be reused in construction materials. The grindstones are crushed into fine pieces by a special crushing machine at a specialist recycling company and reused as a roadbed material.
A 20% reduction (compared with in the year of 2000 and for the defined period) has also been achieved in the amount of non-industrial waste produced at Toride Plant. Non-industrial trash is carefully sorted into burnable garbage, non-burnable garbage, and reusable materials (empty bottles, newspaper, etc.), and cafeteria leftovers are processed by a kitchen waste processor inside the plant.
Toride Plant intends to further enhance its efforts toward zero waste and fulfill its corporate responsibilities in helping to create a recycling-based society facing global-scale environmental problems by increasing the efficiency of its sorting methods and reducing the overall amount of waste materials produced at the plant.
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