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Focus on Tohoku Epson: Environmental Improvements a Source of Inspiration

Tohoku Epson
Tohoku Epson


shounai heiya

Tohoku Epson is located in northern Japan, on the coast of the Sea of Japan in Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture. Its main businesses are the manufacture of semiconductor products (IC) and inkjet printer heads. The employees have a strong awareness of the environmental impact of the plant's operations and work together as a team to incorporate environmental initiatives into their everyday duties.

Tohoku Epson has long combined environmental actions with production streamlining. ISO14001 certification was carried out in conjunction with the Epson's Head Office to help to optimize efficiency and reduce the cost from a companywide perspective. Cutting costs by driving measures to increase energy efficiency is also a major part of their environmental management system. Last fiscal year these actions amounted to energy savings equivalent to 25 million yen.


Reducing and Recycling at Work and at Home

Inkjet printer head

The manufacturing process for inkjet printer heads uses large quantities of ethanol for cleaning. After countless tests and continuous effort, part of this cleaning process has now been eliminated and the amount of ethanol required was cut by 220 kg compared to the previous year without any effects on product quality.

Tohoku Epson was one of the first companies in the Epson Group to set its sights on recycling 100% of its waste. It is also turning waste metals and plastics into revenue by selling them to salvage contractors instead of paying for their disposal. Careful separation of waste materials is essential for this system to function and Tohoku Epson follows a strict policy of "garbage when mixed, valuable when separated." In 2009, revenue from this activity contributed nearly 6 million yen and Tohoku Epson's efforts have been used as a model for establishing the Epson Group Valuable Resource Management Standard which is being deploying across the entire group.

2009 marked the lowest energy consumption on record despite increases in production volume in 2005 and transfers of manufacturing processes from other sites. Tohoku Epson has continued to cut energy usage without sacrificing production efficiency by reviewing production processes, regularly stopping production equipment, improving basic equipment, and numerous other measures.


Energy Use

workshop

Tohoku Epson also operates the "Eco Challenge Point Rally," a program to encourage employees to introduce environmental actions into their private lives. Nearly 80% of employees participate. In addition, classes and workshops are held for local children so they can experience the manufacturing process and develop a deeper consciousness of the environment. Other initiatives include picking up litter in areas surrounding the office and over 100 employees regularly take part.


Tohoku Epson incorporates environmental management into production streamlining and has also extended these efforts beyond the production floor into commonsense actions such as intensive waste separation. These activities have been an inspiration to other companies and employees in the Epson Group.

To learn more about Epson's environmental vision, visit:
http://global.epson.com/SR/environment/vision/

To read Epson's Sustainability Report, visit:
http://global.epson.com/SR/report/