The AGC Group is promoting Zero-landfill (waste) (Note 1) globally, with a goal to achieve Group-wide Zero-landfill (waste) status by 2020. The Group carefully controls of the amount of waste generated at sites and implements sorted collection. It is also making steady progress in recycling waste via the legal systems and recycling infrastructures of the countries and regions in which it operates. In 2015, the Group’s overall recycling rate was 96.8% (2014: 96.7%).
Meanwhile, since it processes natural resources to create materials for end products, the AGC Group is a part of the basic materials industry. In order to continue expanding its business operations despite the use of earth’s limited natural resources, the AGC Group is promoting the efficient use of recycled resources as raw materials (Note 2) by establishing utilization ratio goals and working towards fulfilling them.
For example, glass cullet (glass scraps) are used in the glass manufacturing process as a substitute for silica sand and other raw materials. Aside from certainly using glass cullet generated by in-company manufacturing and other processes, used glass is collected from cities, and is actively used as raw material within the range where use is possible.
In addition, since it takes less energy to melt cullet than silica sand and other natural resources, and because there are no CO2 emissions from the raw material itself, this leads to a reduction in CO2 emissions in manufacturing processes. As a mid- to long-term target related to the efficient use of recycled resources, the AGC Group has set and is working towards the target of reducing CO2 emissions by 175,000 tons (60,000 tons from AGC Asahi Glass) through the use of cullet (Note 3) by 2020.
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The Chemicals Company manufactures various fluorinated products such as alternatives for chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC, HFC) and hydrofluoric acid. Calcium fluoride (Fluorite) is a natural resource used as raw material for these fluorinated products, but deposits and producing countries are limited, and most Japanese enterprises, including the AGC Group, largely depend on imports from China.
Since 1997, the Group has been recovering used fluorocarbon products from customers, then destroying and recycling them at the AGC Asahi Glass Chiba Plant. In 2015, fluorocarbons equivalent to approximately 1.99 million tons of CO2 (approximately 1.76 million tons in 2014) were collected and destroyed at this site. The calcium fluoride (Fluorite) recovered through the destruction process is reused as raw material.
In addition, calcium fluoride (Fluorite) is recovered and reused from waste fluid generated in manufacturing processes at the site. Furthermore, the recovery and reuse of “waste calcium fluoride” generated in the treatment process of wastewater from hydrofluoric acid used by customers is also beginning. These initiatives were awarded the 2014 METI Minister Award, the highest prize in the Resource Recycling Technology and System Awards (Note 4).