Toyota City, Japan, October 29, 2013 – Toyota Motor Corporation was honoured this month for its ongoing efforts to promote a sustainable society by reducing, reusing and recycling resources.
 
At this year’s 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) Awards hosted by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) 3Rs Promotion Council, Toyota and Toyota Tsusho Corporation shared the 2013 Prime Minister’s Prize.
 
Separately, Toyota and Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. shared a Rare Metal Recycling Award from the Japan Environmental Management Association for Industry (JEMAI) presented earlier this month at the Awards for Resources Recirculation Technologies and Systems. The award, announced on October 11, recognized the companies’ jointly developed system for recycling the rare metal tungsten.
 
Toyota was one of the first automakers to respond to the implications of mass production and disposal of vehicles. In 1970, Toyota and Toyota Tsusho Corporation founded Toyota Metal Co., Ltd., the first end-of-life vehicle shredding plant established by an automaker. The Toyota Group (consisting of 17 companies including TMC and Toyota Tsusho Corporation) has remained committed to the responsible disposal of end-of-life vehicles, and has developed a wide variety of world-first recycling technologies and systems to recover materials.
 
In recent years, Toyota has been at the forefront of recycling hybrid vehicle components. As of September 30, 2013, a total of 5.7 million Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles have been sold worldwide. Additionally, Toyota is pioneering the recycling of motor magnets and the battery-to-battery recycling of used nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries from hybrid vehicles. This adds to the already-considerable environmental benefits of hybrid vehicles, including reduced CO2 emissions and superior fuel efficiency.
 
NiMH Battery Reuse and Recycling
 
Since 1998, Toyota has recovered NiMH batteries from approximately 30,000 vehicles, equivalent to 80 percent of all end-of-life hybrid vehicles in Japan. Until recently, these batteries could only be recycled as a raw material for stainless steel. Thanks to collaboration with Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd., new methods for sorting and extracting nickel content have been developed. In 2010, this led to the establishment of the world’s first business to reuse nickel from used NiMH batteries in the manufacture of new NiMH batteries. In 2012, Toyota became the first automaker to develop technology allowing recovered NiMH batteries to be combined and reused in stationary rechargeable battery systems; sales to Toyota dealers by Toyota Turbine and Systems, Inc. began in 2013.
 
Toyota Canada Inc. has established a comprehensive battery recycling program for its hybrid and plug-in hybrid nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries in Canada. This program ensures that Toyota dealers as well as third party facilities are aware of the process to collect and remit end-of-life batteries so that they can be properly recycled.
 
Motor Magnet Recycling
 
Toyota is committed to utilizing the planet’s scarce natural resources as effectively and efficiently as possible. In 2012, Toyota created the world’s first system for recycling neodymium and dysprosium, two rare earth metals used in magnets of hybrid vehicle motors.
 
Toyota is also working to recycle rare metals that are used in non-hybrid vehicles. In 2010, Toyota teamed up with Sumitomo Electric Industries to establish a business focused on recycling tungsten, which is most commonly used to produce highly resilient carbide tools. The system combines processes for sorting and collecting scrap from cemented carbide products with new, world-first recycling technology to enable 100 percent recovery and recycling of tungsten in cemented carbide scrap. To date, the venture has recycled 75 tons of tungsten.
 
Toyota’s Recycling Initiatives
 
Year
Milestone
Details
1970
Toyota Metal Co., Ltd. established to meet future demand for responsible disposal of end-of-life vehicles
• First automaker to establish a recycling company
• Approx. 6.5 million vehicles recycled between 1972 and 2012
1973
Toyota Chemical Engineering Co., Ltd. established to process and recycle cutting oil from Toyota production plants Established by Toyota Tsusho Corporation; 30,000 kL of waste oil processed and recycled between 2008 and 2011
1985
Toyotsu Recycle Corporation established to recover and recycle precious metals from exhaust gas catalysts Established by Toyota Tsusho Corporation; approximately 16 million catalysts recycled between 1985 and 2012
1992
Toyota Environment Committee established Chaired by TMC president
1996
Bumper recycling across Japan commences Approximately 10 million recycled between 1996 and 2012
1998
Automobile Shredder Residue (ASR) recycling plant established
• Established at Toyota Metal Co., Ltd.
• World’s first dedicated ASR plant
• ASR recycled into soundproofing materials for 22 million vehicles between 1998 to 2012
End-of-life hybrid vehicle NiMH battery collection and recycling commences Approximately 30,000 collected between 1998 and 2012
2001
Automobile Recycle Technical Center established Established at Toyota Metal Co. Ltd.; first automaker to establish an independent recycling research institute
Ecoline Corporation, a used parts sales network operator, established Established by Toyota Tsusho Corporation; approximately 200,000 used parts handled annually
Parts e-commerce system introduced for Toyota parts distributors throughout Japan Approx. 600,000 used parts sold between 2001 and 2012
2003
Toyota Recycling Vision formulated Sets targets for 2015
“Raum” model launched Incorporates Toyota’s proprietary “Design for Recycling” (DfR) features
Bio-plastics used in parts for the first time World-first
2005
Aluminum recycling business established at Toyota production plants Expanded to 13 plants worldwide; approximately 2.5 million tons recycled between 2005 and 2012
2007
95% vehicle recycling rate achieved -
2009
Recycling guidance commences in countries where hybrid vehicles are sold Aiming for development of NiMH battery collection systems outside Japan
2010
Battery-to-battery recycling of hybrid vehicle NiMH batteries commences World-first 
Tungsten recycling system launched World-first; approximately 75 tons recycled between 2010 and August 2013
2011
99% vehicle recycling rate achieved
-
2012
Magnet-to-magnet hybrid vehicle motor magnet recycling system launched World-first
2013
System for reusing NiMH batteries in stationary rechargeable batteries launched World-first
Redesigned “Sai” dedicated hybrid sedan launched Achieved 20 percent usage of Ecological Plastic and recycled resin materials
Toyota wins JEMAI Rare Metal Recycling Award First automaker to win the award
Toyota wins Prime Minister’s Prize in the 3Rs Awards First automaker to win the award
 
Additional Information:
 
Toyota's environmental initiatives
 
3Rs Promotion Council homepage (Japanese only)
 
JEMAI homepage
 
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