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Environmental Protection & Preservation

Sharp Develops New Technology for Recycling Waste Plastic Parts

Sharp Corporation announces the development of a technology to separate and recover high-purity polypropylene (PP) from waste plastic components collected from four appliances (TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines) subject to the Home Appliance Recycling Law in Japan and recycle it into high-quality plastic.

This technology--the first of its kind in the industry--handles waste plastic in which metal parts and different types of resins still remain attached, and that was previously disposed of as industrial waste. Sharp is aiming to expand the amount of recycled plastic it uses by employing this polypropylene in exterior components of new home appliances, with a goal of using 1,000 tons of recycled plastic in fiscal 2008.

In 2001, Sharp developed and implemented a technology for closed-loop material recycling that enables the repeated reuse of scrap plastic components that consist of a single resin material (polypropylene [PP] or polystyrene [PS]) recovered from the four types of appliances mentioned above, into new home appliances, thereby reducing the amount of virgin plastic usage and helping to save fossil resources. At the same time, the volume of waste plastic collected and working to expand the applications for the recycled plastic material have been challenges to further advancing these efforts.

Now Sharp has set up a High-Efficiency Metal Removal Line at Kansai Recycling Systems Co., Ltd. and has also developed new High-Purity PP Separation and Recovery Technology to recycle these waste plastic components. In addition, a proprietary technology from Ube Industries, Ltd. (Hiroaki Tamura, President, CEO and Director) to incorporate colored pigments into the separated and recovered PP prevents impurities from being visible, enabling the reuse of this PP in the exterior components of new home appliances, and achieving a closed-loop recycling system.

Sharp will first adopt this technology first for the exterior components of refrigerators in September 2007. It will also work toward a target of using 1,000 tons of recycled plastic in new products in fiscal 2008 (the actual amount used in fiscal 2006 was 620 tons).

In the future, Sharp will continue to pursue further innovations in recycling technologies, as well as take steps to reduce consumption of fossil resources, with the goal of achieving its corporate vision of "Sharp's energy-creating and energy-saving products equalize Sharp's greenhouse gas emissions."

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