Energy-saving, resource-saving and reduction of the environmental impact
Water Resource Conservation and Water Pollutant Elimination
Target: Reduce water withdrawal in terms of production intensity at an average annual rate of 1%.
Reduce water pollutant discharge in terms of production intensity at an average annual rate of 1%.
Results: The average annual rate from FY2018 to FY2020 was increased by 3.2% in terms of water withdrawal and reduced by 3.5% in terms of BOD emission.
Evaluation: Achieved the target forBOD, but not for water withdrawal.
Target:Reduce water withdrawal in terms of production intensity at an average annual rate of 1%.
Reduce water pollutant discharge in terms of production intensity at an average annual rate of 1%.
There are water scarcity areas in the world, and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has predicted that the issue of water scarcity in some regions will become serious by the year 2025. The Shin-Etsu Group's major manufacturing plants are located where clean water is abundant. However, we recognize that tackling water shortages around the world is an important issue for us to work on.The Group carries out water risk assessments and works proactively study for the technology for the conservation of water resources by reducing water withdrawal, ensuring that water is recycled, and implementing thorough wastewater purification and water quality management.
In addition, we are working to recycle water to the utmost limit, and we also properly treat the water that is finally discharged, comply with regulations concerning water contaminants when discarding water, and check the water quality ourselves for verification.
Trend of Amount of Water Withdrawn
Trend of Amount of Recycled Water
Trend of BOD Emission Volume
Trend of COD Emission Volume
Shin-Etsu Chemical Naoetsu Plant
Environment and Safety Department
Managing various emissions from our plants appropriately
1.Please tell us about your business.
Many substances are discharged from the production processes of the Group's plants, but we are actively working to improve the environment, not merely complying with laws and regulations. The main issue facing the plant is reducing the risk of releasing waste water from our production processes outside. Examples include optimizing the drainage system, separating rainwater from the water discharged from production processes, and improving the quality of discharged water.
2.How is the Naoetsu Plant working to reduce BOD and SS1?
At this plant, wastewater, including high-concentration BOD and SS generated in the production process, is treated and adjusted to below emission standards for biological treatment facilities (anaerobic and aerobic treatments) and sedimentation treatment facilities before being released into rivers. Currently, we are working to reduce the risk of releasing BOD and SS into rivers by improving the efficiency of the biological treatment, increasing the treatment capacity, and reviewing and optimizing our wastewater systems. To reduce the risk of environmental pollution through early detection of irregularities, we are expanding our lineup of measuring and monitoring instruments, such as TOC,2 turbidity,3 and pH,4 at each drainage groove of our plants. The total amount of wastewater discharged from plants is large, so even a small reduction in BOD emissions would result in a significant reduction in the annual amount of BOD emissions. It is difficult to optimize the treatment of wastewater at the optimal location feasibly while satisfying the requirements of many related laws, such as site conditions and layout regulations. However, achieving the 12th SDG target of "Responsible Consumption and Production" is linked to the achievement of environmental impact reduction even when facilities are being expanded to develop new businesses and new products.
- 1 Suspended solids (SS)
A water quality indicator and a generic term for insoluble substances with a particle size of 2 mm or less suspended in water.
- 2 Total Organic Carbon (TOC)
This indicates the amount of carbon contained in organic matter in water. It is used as an indicator of organic pollution.
- 3 Turbidity
An indicator of the degree of water turbidity.
- 4 pH
Potential of hydrogen, representing the degree of acidity and alkalinity of the solution.
Water Resource Conservation Efforts by the Shin-Etsu Chemical Gunma Complex
The Shin-Etsu Chemical Gunma Complex manufactures highly functional materials such as silicones. Located inland in the southwest region of Gunma Prefecture, the complex draws almost all of the water required for manufacturing from nearby rivers and purifies the wastewater from the complex before discharging it.
The Gunma complex is situated in a rich natural environment. The Tokyo metropolitan area is downstream from the nearby rivers, which sustain the daily lives of Tokyo residents as well as its industry and agriculture. Although the manufacturing of chemical products requires large quantities of water, the complex strives to conserve valuable water resources by keeping its water intake from these rivers to a minimum. For this reason, the complex reuses as much water as possible in its manufacturing and water cooling processes by recycling and circulating inside the Complex.
Besides purifying the water before returning it to the rivers, rigorous water quality management is also applied. The Complex strives to maintain optimum conditions by continually monitoring the operating status of water treatment facilities and conducts regular water quality analysis of discharged water to verify that it is in strict compliance with high water standards. Furthermore, it separate rainwater to prevent the inflow of rainwater during heavy downpours as a measure to protect their treatment facilities from being damaged by natural disasters. In addition, it have been carrying out seismic strengthening works since 2014 in preparation of large-scale earthquakes.
By effectively utilizing limited water resources, the Gunma complex will continue to fulfill its responsibility as a production base that is located upstream.
Water Flow at the Shin-Etsu Chemical Gunma Complex (FY2020)
Rainwater Utilization at Overseas Group Company
Calls are increasing for the protection of the world's water resources, and since its foundation, Asia Silicones Monomer Limited has been making effective use of the abundant rainfall it enjoys in its location in Thailand.
It stores rainwater in storage tanks on-site, using it for industrial water and as coolant for waste gas incinerator. It always maintains a reserve of rainwater for use in firefighting in the event of an emergency. It also supplies Group company Shin-Etsu Silicones (Thailand) and its nearby partners with industrial water using rainwater.
Target: Achieve zero waste emissions (landfill waste of 1% or less of the final amount of all waste generated) Promote the reduction of waste generation in terms of production intensity
Results: The final waste landfill disposal rate was 1.14% in the Shin-Etsu Group and 1.44% in Shin-Etsu Chemical.
Evaluation: The target was not achieved.
Target:Achieve zero waste emissions.
Promote the reduction of waste generation in terms of production intensity.
In FY2020, the amount of recycled waste also decreased due to a decrease in the amount of waste generated compared to FY2019. In FY2020, we worked to internalize treatment of waste water containing copper ion, reduce the amount of septic additives in wastewater treatment tanks, and improve the use rate of sludge dehydration facilities.
We hire external contractors to handle our disposals. We check to confirm that they handle disposals properly by regularly inspecting their operations.
Flow of Waste Disposal
- * The figures are aggregated only for Shin-Etsu Chemical and Group companies in Japan because waste standards differ from country to country.
Trend of Amount of Waste Recycled
Trend of Amount of Waste Sent to Landfills
- * Total of Shin-Etsu Chemical and domestic consolidated companies.
The Group collaborates with customers and related industry groups, using cutting-edge technologies to recover used products, extract resources, and reuse them in the Group's products. Through these initiatives, it is possible to reduce the waste output of our customers and the Group itself. We are also contributing to environmental conservation by reusing resources.
Rare Earth Magnet Resource Recycling
The Group manufactures rare earth magnets with our integrated production process using separation and refinement techniques to extract rare earth magnets from rare earth raw materials.
Since 2007, the Group has been recycling the magnet powder generated by our manufacturing processes for rare earth magnets as one of our measures for the stable procurement of raw materials. Furthermore, since March 2013, we have also been developing techniques to recycle the rare earth magnets used in recovered power-saving air conditioners and hybrid cars in order to reuse resources.
These initiatives have made it possible to reduce the environmental impact that comes along with resource development and to safely and securely protect the valuable resource of rare earth. The Group's rare earth magnets create significant economic and social value as recycled products and also contribute significantly to energy conservation.
Rare Earth Magnet Resource Recycling Process
Recycling of PVC Products
Initiatives to recycle products containing PVC are making progress. There are various methods for recycling PVC, the most common of which is material recycling.
Material recycling uses used PVC products as raw materials to create new PVC products. PVC pipes, flooring materials, and other PVC products are not greatly influenced by foreign substance contamination, so various kinds of recycling are conducted for those products. In particular, 60% of used PVC pipes and joints are recycled for reuse in new PVC pipes and joints, and 70% of agricultural film is recycled for use in flooring material.
Examples of Recycling PVC Products
Recycling the Use of Product Shipping Cartons
Shin-Etsu Chemical started recycling product shipping cartons for heat-dissipating silicone grease from FY2018. Heat-dissipating silicone grease must be transported while frozen to stabilize its product quality. Therefore, we used dry ice to cool products in disposable boxes in transit in the past. As a result of extensive research conducted collaboratively with customers, the company has successfully developed the new packaging that can be recycled multiple times while maintaining optimal temperatures. In addition, this new packaging eliminates the need for dry ice, resulting in a reduction of 28.2 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Marine Plastic Problem
Marine plastic problem is one of the most important issues for the chemical industry. We believe that there are business opportunities since the problem is unlikely to be resolved with existing products. It is therefore all the more worth it for the Group to take on this challenge. We are working on this issue together with the Japan Initiative for Marine Environment.1
- 1 Japan Initiative for Marine Environment
An organization established in September 2018 by the Japan Chemical Industry Association, the Japan Plastics Industry Federation, the Plastics Waste Management Institute, the Japan Petrochemical Industry Association, and the Vinyl Environmental Council to address the marine plastic waste problem for the entire chemical industry.