There is an emerging global trend toward the recycling and reusing of resources due to concerns about natural resource depletion and marine plastic pollution.
To ensure more efficient use of limited resources and reduce waste, Canon is making products smaller and lighter, and reusing and recycling materials as much as possible. We also strive to reduce waste consumption and the generation of waste from manufacturing at our operational sites.
Canon has five sites conducting recycling in four regions around the world.
We are continuing initiatives aimed at circulating resources within the same regions where they are consumed.
Canon pursues product-to-product recycling—in other words, recycling used products into new ones. In particular, we have emphasized such initiatives as closed-loop recycling of toner cartridges and the remanufacturing of office multifunction devices—collecting them post-use and making them into products with good-as-new quality.
We see initiatives at Canon’s recycling sites as not only contributing to a circular economy but also contributing to a carbon-free future. Through reuse of parts, remanufacturing enables us to reduce the CO2 emissions generated in raw material procurement and in parts processing and other activities, compared with manufacturing new machines. Closed-loop recycling, in which used cartridges are collected and processed into plastic pellets for reuse as raw material, also results in reduced CO2 emissions generated by raw material procurement, transportation, and other activities, compared with using new raw materials. Canon Ecology Industry Inc. emitted 2,600 tons of Scope 1 and 2 CO2 through site operations. We believe that these efforts have resulted in a reduction of approximately 5,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
Since 2008, we have taken 42,413 tons of plastics from used products for recycling as raw materials, and another 33,619 tons of products and parts were reused directly.
Currently, Canon has five sites conducting recycling, in Japan, Europe (two sites), the United States, and China. We are continuing initiatives aimed at circulating resources within the same regions where they are consumed.
In February 2018, we opened the Canon Eco Technology Park, based on a “clean and silent” design concept which overturns the traditional image of recycling operations. This facility features advanced systems including automated recycling system of toner cartridges and ink cartridges to boost recycling efficiency further.
Moreover, the facility serves as a hub for Group environmental activities. Offering field trip courses and a showroom, it is used as an environmental education center for elementary school pupils and other groups from the general public.
In 2019, in the 28th Grand Prize for the Global Environment Awards, sponsored by the Fujisankei Communications Group in Japan, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award was presented to the Canon Eco Technology Park with Canon Recycling Technologies for “efforts for social issue resolution toward the creation of a circular economy.
Canon gives careful consideration to collection and recycling of end-of-life products from the design and development stage, through the use of Lifecycle Assessments (LCA) and the Product Assessment System. To assist these efforts in the design stage we formulated the Environmentally Conscious Design Guidance, which covers an array of considerations, including product-related environmental laws and regulations, Green Public Procurement standards, and environmental label standards in the countries where we sell our products.
The Environmentally Conscious Design Guidance contains design guidelines relating to such matters as reduced use of materials by making products lighter, smaller, longer-lived, and easier to maintain, ease of disassembly, ease of sorting materials following disassembly, and information disclosure.
Comparison of RF 800mm F11 IS STM with previous EF lens
Comparison of PRO-300 with previous model
Canon is making efforts across a wide range of product types to make its products smaller and lighter to help reduce the consumption of resources in the form of raw materials.
Our two new RF lens products, the RF600mm F11 IS STM and RF800mm F11 IS STM, are the world’s lightest weight*1 super-telephoto single-focal-length lens of their respective focal lengths. Equipped with DO lenses*2, fixed f/11 apertures, and housing that comprises resin-based plastic enabling both products to achieve a significant weight reduction of approximately 70% compared to previous EF lenses, the lenses combine high maneuverability and portability with outstanding image capture.
The PRO-300 new inkjet printer model for professional and advanced amateur photographers likewise realizes substantial reductions in size and weight compared to the previous PRO-10/10S model, maintaining high image resolution and high productivity while reducing volume by approximately 15% and weight by approximately 28%.
We collect used devices and break them down into parts, which are washed and cleaned. We replace any parts that show wear or deterioration. When a remanufactured device is shipped, it is guaranteed to offer the same level of quality as a new product.
Since 1992, Canon has undertaken remanufacturing of used multifunction devices. We collect used devices and break them down into parts, which are washed and cleaned using optimal techniques. Following strict reuse standards, we replace any parts that show wear or deterioration. The production line and inspection processes used are on a par with those for devices made only with new parts. When a remanufactured device is shipped, it is guaranteed to offer the same level of quality as a new product.
We market remanufactured devices from the imageRUNNER ADVANCE series under the Refreshed series brand in Japan and under the EQ80 series brand in Europe.
The used products that have been collected are gathered up and go through an initial check
The exterior covers and parts are removed
The body's frame and the parts that were disassembled are cleaned
The cleaned frames are assembled with new and reused parts, and then the exterior covers are attached.
The same inspection as for new products are done to make sure that all the functions work appropriately.
The products are packaged just like a new product, and the sent to market.
In 2019, Canon launched sales of a new product under the Refreshed series brand, the imageRUNNER ADVANCE C3330F-RG, a special environmentally conscious model with an increased reused parts ratio. Using meticulous washing and cleaning processes, with sandblast polishing* to remove the smallest imperfections and other special treatments, a reused parts ratio of over 90% has been achieved.
* A technique for polishing resin surfaces by blasting with microparticles
Given this achievement of one of the industry’s highest reused parts ratios, and also in recognition of the highly developed reuse technology, the imageRUNNER ADVANCE C3330F-RG was rated highly as a product symbolizing the circular economy, and was awarded the distinction of Eco of the Year at the Ecomark Awards 2020 sponsored by the Japan Environment Association.
Canon operates recycling programs including Toner Cartridge Collection and Recycling Program which enable plastic material to be used repeatedly.
In 1990, Canon launched its Toner Cartridge Collection and Recycling Program, the first such program in the industry. The program is continuing operating today. Returned used toner cartridges are brought to Canon recycling sites, where they are sorted by model and the reusable parts are picked out. Washing and maintenance are performed as needed, and the parts are then reused in new products. Parts that cannot be reused are crushed and separated by material using physical characteristics such as electrostatic properties and specific gravity.
The primary material of toner cartridges is the high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) used primarily for the housing. HIPS can be used repeatedly to make new toner cartridges a unique feature of Canon’s closed-loop recycling process.
We conduct used toner cartridge collection in 23 countries and regions (with a cumulative collection volume of about 444,000 tons as of the end of 2021) for recycling at four sites* worldwide. As of 2021 we have achieved a cumulative reduction in the use of new resources of approximately 314,000 tons.
The Canon Automated Recycling System for Toner Cartridges (CARS-T) is a process whereby used toner cartridges are crushed and the materials automatically separated for recycling of the main component, high-impact polystyrene (HIPS). The sorting purity of the recycled plastic reaches 99% or greater* with the intensive use of various separation technologies at the different stages of the process.
A clean and silent operation, the CARS-T process also ensures there are no messy toner leaks from the sealed process units.
*99% or greater based on Canon’s in-house sorting method
Canon has been collecting and recycling used ink cartridges since 1996.
In Japan, Canon is part of the Ink Cartridge Satogaeri (Homecoming) Project, a joint program by printer manufacturers to collect cartridges via boxes placed in post offices, libraries, and other local government facilities. Schools also collect cartridges through activities related to the Bellmark Campaign. Outside Japan, we place cartridge collection boxes in large retail stores, affiliate sales outlets, shopping malls, companies, schools, libraries, train stations, Canon service stores, Canon showrooms, and other locations, depending on the circumstances in each country or region.
As of the end of 2021, Canon’s collection program was operational in 35 countries and regions worldwide, and the total volume of cartridges that had been collected up to the end of 2021 reached 2,616 tons.
With the Canon Automated Recycling System for Ink Cartridges (CARS-I), a camera-based automatic sorting process is used on the used ink cartridges. The process line is automated, yielding an integrated process for the recycling of ink cartridges from disassembly and pulverization to washing. Separated materials are reused for ink cartridge components, materials for pallets used in logistics, or in stationery products.
Canon actively works to reduce the amount of waste originating from operational sites and to reuse or recycle waste.
Canon is working hard to reduce the amount of waste it generates. Efforts include increasing recycling through sorting and collection and minimizing initial waste generation. In particular, we have sought to determine which factors most significantly affect waste generation for each division and each production process. Based on these findings, by an actual versus forecast comparison, we have implemented a number of ongoing initiatives to curb waste generation.
Our various operational sites employ a range of in-house recycling schemes, including reprocessing waste plastic from injection molding or recycling it for other items. Even in the case of waste that must be sent outside the company, we make sure it does not enter landfills*. Rather, we contract with companies that reprocess waste into materials. In 2021, contracted companies processed 84,060 tons of waste from Canon back into materials.
* Except for some general waste generated by business activities that is disposed of under government oversight.
Total waste output in 2021 amounted to 83,115 tons, about 1% year-on-year increase. Although we carried out ongoing activities to reduce waste at production sites, waste increased in line with recovery in production activities and greater in-person office attendance compared to 2020. Compared to 2019, however, waste output was down by about 27%.
* Excludes disposal of products collected after use
There is growing public concern over single-use plastics, which are regarded as a cause of marine pollution. With the aim of reducing plastics, Canon is working to cut the amount of single-use plastic used in product packaging materials and at operational sites.
For product packaging, we are seeking to replace single-use plastics, for instance by switching from polystyrene foam to pulp mold. We are also pursuing initiatives to reduce plastic waste at operational sites worldwide. Canon Hi-Tech (Thailand) has hosted seminars to educate local residents and children on the problem of plastic waste, and organized workshops on how to make eco-bags from used clothing. In Japan, we are taking the initiative to address the issue of disposable plastics used in the straws, cups, and other utensils provided in staff canteens and other places at our operational sites by switching to paper and biodegradable plastics.
Practical Initiatives to Reduce Product Packaging Materials (Inkjet Printer TR4650)
Additionally, Canon is a member of the Clean Ocean Material Alliance (CLOMA), a public-private sector alliance that seeks a solution to the problem of marine plastic pollution through accelerated innovation and collaboration among a wide range of interested parties across industry borders. In coordination with CLOMA, we are working on a range of initiatives, including reducing the use of plastics and developing recycle-friendly products, technologies, and systems.
For sustainable water use, we strive to improve water-usage efficiency.
Canon assesses locations to confirm available water intake volume before establishing operational sites and facilities. We use the AQUEDUCT water-risk mapping tool provided by the World Resources Institute* for quantitative evaluation and reconfirmation of water risk in regions where production sites are located, and work to reduce water consumption in response to local conditions. Meanwhile, in some regions, an increase in abnormal weather patterns has increased the risk of flood damage. We have already begun implementing appropriate responses to climate change, for instance by building Plant No. 2 at our Thai production base on raised ground. Going forward, we will continue our progress with the formulation and updating of risk response plans.
* World Resources Institute: WRI is an independent institute based in the United States that conducts policy research and provides technical assistance concerning environmental and development issues around the world.
Canon collects water data by intake source (public water system, industrial water system, or groundwater) and manages water resources carefully so as not to exceed intake limits for the different regions in which it operates. We also set and manage targets for the volume of water used in production, and constantly strive to reduce water usage by improving production processes and raising water-usage efficiency.
I order to maintain appropriate water use at our sales and marketing companies, we monitor and manage water consumption at our main offices.
The head office building of Canon Marketing Japan Co., Ltd. cooperates with the Shinagawa Grand Commons Community Development Council, which consists of neighboring companies, to participate in the "Reclaimed Water Utilization Project" promoted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Sewerage Bureau. As part of the project, reclaimed water supplied by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Sewerage Bureau is used in toilets and other facilities in order to reduce water resource use through the recycling of water.
The area Canon Hi-Tech (Thailand)’s Nakhonratchasima Plant locates is reported as an area with high water risk (quantitative risk).
The Canon plant conducts water related environment activities such as reduction of water consumption, preservation of water quality, and the installation of a check dam in cooperation with the local natural park managers and neighbors.
This natural park is the source of water in Nakhonratchasima Province, where Canon High Tech (Thailand) is located. In order to handle floods in the rainy season and droughts in the dry season, a check dam is needed to prevent erosion by reducing the speed of water flow and promoting sedimentation. The Canon plant has been providing support through the provision of tools for check dam installation for four years. Water quality conservation and storage using this dam have improved local residents' access to water.
They won recognition for their various initiatives in areas and acquired the Gold Level certification for the second consecutive year since 2019 in the Water Conservation Awards sponsored by the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Canon promotes the recycling of water resources. The Kitsuki Plant of Oita Canon Materials Inc. is located on Beppu Bay, home to precious natural resources and habitats. In consideration of the impact on the ecosystem, the plant employs a closed wastewater system that discharges nothing but rainwater.
In 2021, despite ongoing efforts to reduce water consumption at production sites, water consumption increased from 2020, when production activities were severely affected by COVID-19, to 8,560,000 m3, an increase of 1.6% from the previous year. On the other hand, this represents a decrease of approximately 7% from 2019.
* Third-party verification obtained for water consumption figures from 2018.
We introduce other Canon's Environmental Material Activities.