Contributing to a Circular Economy

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Canon promotes 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.

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 (Cumulative)

Since 2008, we have taken 40,220 tons of plastics from used products for recycling as raw materials, and another 31,938 tons of products and parts were reused directly.

Product-to-Product Recycling Amounts
  • Product recycling initiatives have been ongoing since before 2007. Data are based on 2008 as the baseline year.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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 435,000 tons as of the end of 2020) 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 2020 we have achieved a cumulative reduction in the use of new resources of approximately 306,000 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 2020, 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 2020 reached 2,510 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.

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

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 2020, contracted companies processed 79,995 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 Generated

The total waste output in 2020 amounted to 82,501 tons, a large reduction from the previous year of approximately 28%. In addition to the special measures and facility closures associated with COVID-19, the reduction in office waste caused by teleworking also contributed to the overall fall.

Total Waste Generated

* Figures for 2017 onwards include data for Canon Medical

Action to Deal with Marine Plastics

There is growing public concern over single-use plastics, which are regarded as a cause of marine pollution. 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 inter-industry boundaries. 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.
We are also pursuing initiatives to reduce plastic waste at operational sites in Japan and overseas. 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. The Canon Group’s three Thaibased affiliates also engage in ongoing marine environment conservation activities, collecting marine waste washed up on the coastline and encouraging tourists to reduce their use of plastics.
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 substitute materials or reducing the amount of these items used.

Sustainable Water Resources

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

Water Risk in Regions Where Canon Production Sites Are Located

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.

Water Risk (Quantitative) in Regions Containing Major Production Sites

Water-risk mapping tool
  • Result of “physical risk quantity” assessment of production sites (as of end of 2020) using AQUEDUCT water-risk mapping tool (Version 3, published August 2019)

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.

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Use of Water Resources

Total water consumption in 2020, decreased by 8.5% year on year to 8,426 million m3. In addition to the facility closures associated with COVID-19, water-saving initiatives at our operational sites also contributed to the reduction.

Use of Water Resources

* Figures for 2017 onwards include data for Canon Medical.

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