Contributing to a Circular Economy

Canon pursues reductions in resource consumption and product-to-product recycling with the aim of contributing to the development of a circular economy.

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’s Approach to Achieve a Circular Economy

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.

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Canon’s Resource Circulation

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.

Flowchart of Canon’s Circular Economy

Product-to-Product Recycling Amounts

In the last five years, we have taken 23,342 tons of plastics from used products for recycling as raw materials, and another 15,941 tons of products and parts were reused directly.

Product-to-Product Recycling Amounts

Five Recycling Sites in Four Regions around the World

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.

Canon Recycling Sites Worldwide

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Product Development Aimed at Efficient Use of Resources

Recycling-Conscious Design

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.

Designing smaller and lighter products

PIXMA series of inkjet printers, TS8200 series model

PIXMA series of inkjet printers, TS8200 series model

Super-telephoto, large-diameter lens, EF400mm f/2.8L IS III USM model

Super-telephoto, large-diameter lens, EF400mm f/2.8L IS III USM model

Canon strives to make its products smaller and lighter to help reduce the consumption of resources in the form of raw materials. In the PIXMA series of inkjet printers, optimization of the internal mechanical layout and the continuation of other downsizing technologies enable the new TS8200 series model, launched in 2018, to achieve approximately 35% compacter dimensions than the previous MG7100 series model (2013).

In the SLR camera, meanwhile, the optical design of super-telephoto, large-diameter lens models for professional use are completely retooled, while the adoption of electric focusing ring optimizes the mechanical structure. The EF400mm f/2.8L IS III USM model realizes high resolution at the same time as reducing weight by a substantial 25% or greater compared to the previous EF400mm f/2.8L IS II USM model.


Remanufacturing of Multifunction Devices

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.

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Canon remanufactures 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.

Remanufacturing Flowchart (Canon Ecology industry, in japan)

Remanufacturing Flowchart 1. Collection 1. Collection

The used products that have been collected are gathered up and go through an initial check

Remanufacturing Flowchart 2. Disassembly 2. Disassembly

The exterior covers and parts are removed

Remanufacturing Flowchart 3. Cleaning 3. Cleaning

The body's frame and the parts that were disassembled are cleaned

Remanufacturing Flowchart 4. Assembly process 4. Assembly process

The cleaned frames are assembled with new and reused parts, and then the exterior covers are attached.

Remanufacturing Flowchart 5. Inspection 5. Inspection

The same inspection as for new products are done to make sure that all the functions work appropriately.

Remanufacturing Flowchart 6. Shipping and sales 6. Shipping and sales

The products are packaged just like a new product, and the sent to market.

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Recycling of consumables

Canon operates recycling programs including Toner Cartridge Collection and Recycling Program which enable plastic material to be used repeatedly.

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Toner Cartridge Recycling

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.

Closed-Loop Recycling

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.

Image of Closed-Loop Recycling

Used Toner Cartridge Collection Volume (Cumulative)

We conduct used toner cartridge collection in 23 countries and regions (with a cumulative collection volume of about 408,000 tons as of the end of 2018) for recycling at four sites*, in Japan, the United States, France, and China (recycling in the same region where the product is used). Thanks to our recycling initiatives, as of 2018 we have achieved a cumulative reduction in the use of new resources of approximately 285,000 tons.

*Toner cartridge recycling sites Japan: Canon Ecology Industry United States: Canon Virginia France: Canon Bretagne China: Canon Dalian Business Machines

Used Toner Cartridge Collection Volume (Cumulative)

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Recycling of Ink Cartridges

Image of Recycling of Ink Cartridges

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.

Used Ink Cartridge Collection Volume (Cumulative)

As of the end of 2018, Canon’s collecting program was operational in 35 countries and regions worldwide, and the total volume of cartridges that had been collected up to the end of 2018 reached 2,241 tons.

Used Ink Cartridge Collection Volume (Cumulative)

*Data scope is worldwide. Figures include cartridges for large-format inkjet printers and compact photo printers.

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Initiatives to Reduce Waste

Canon actively works to reduce the amount of waste originating from operational sites and to reuse or recycle waste.

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Reducing 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 forcast comparison, we have implemented a number of ongoing initiatives to curb waste generation.

Meanwhile, in response to growing public concern over plastic contamination of the oceans, we have begun a campaign to reduce the use of disposable plastics, for instance in the straws and cups issued at staff canteens and elsewhere. Measures include switching to substitute materials and encouraging staff to bring their own multi-use utensils.

Initiatives Related to In-House Waste Recycling and Outside Resource Recovery

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 2018, contracted companies processed 114,817 tons of waste from Canon back into materials.

* Except for some general waste generated by business activities that is disposed of under government oversight.

Adapting to Regulations on the Import of Waste Plastics and Similar Materials spread widely in Asia

In January 2018, China introduced a ban on the import of waste plastics and used paper under the National Sword policy. Subsequently, moves to adopt the import ban have spread to Southeast Asian nations, notably Malaysia and Thailand. To curtail as far as possible the generation of waste plastics, used paper, and other waste materials outsourced, Canon works with production sites to further improve the accuracy of separation processes and to expand in-house recycling through in-process recycling measures. We will also be making efforts to improve material yield so as to reduce material wastage as part of initiatives across the whole of the supply chain.

Total Waste Generated

In 2018, we worked at all operational sites to reduce waste generation and promote internal recycling. However, due partly to the effect of a change in waste treatment methods at some sites, total waste generation increased by 4,937 tons year on year to 117,787 tons.

Total Waste Generated

*Figures for 2017 onwards include data for Canon Medical Systems.

Sustainable Water Resources

For sustainable water use, we strive to improve water-usage efficiency.

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Assessment of water risk

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.
The results of our evaluations show that no regions where Canon has production sites are considered to be extremely high risk. Approximately 40% of the water resources consumed by Canon are utilized in the production process. Particularly the lens and semiconductor manufacturing processes require large quantities of water, making it a crucial element in our operations. By improving the efficiency of our water use, we are working to reduce its environmental impact.

*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.

Water-risk mapping tool

*Results using World Resources Institute (WRI) AQUEDUCT mapping tool
*Result of assessment “physical risk quantity” for region containing production site

Reducing Water Usage

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 at each operating site.

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Use of Water Resources

In 2018, we worked at all operational sites to reduce water consumption and promote recycling. Nevertheless, total water consumption showed a slight year-on-year increase of 19 TCM to 9,725 TCM.

Use of Water Resources

*Figures for 2017 onwards include data for Canon Medical Systems.

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