Materials

KPI

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Item FY 2017 results FY 2018 results
Total volume of raw materials used (Consolidated) 798,000 tons (Consolidated) 796,000 tons
Ratio of rubber recycling (Consolidated) 2.3% (Consolidated) 2.4%
Technology and design departments
  • Supervised by the 3Rs Committee

Why is “Materials” a critical issue to be addressed?
Explanation of the reason and background

Yokohama Rubber Group sells products using chemicals and natural capital such as natural rubber and water. These raw materials are made from the Earth’s natural resources, and they are by no means infinite. Accordingly, we view using minimal raw materials, promoting the sales of recycled products (such as retread tires), and the delivery of products that will please customers and society using recycled raw materials (such as regenerated rubber powder) to be important issues.

Policies and stance relating to raw materials

The Yokohama Rubber Group has presented its environmental philosophy in the Yokohama Rubber Environmental Policy and Yokohama Rubber Environmental Policy, and will work to develop and procure raw materials that lead to minimizing of the burden on the environment, and to minimize usage volumes of raw materials from natural resources in accordance with the Yokohama Rubber Group Action Guidelines.

Vision (attainment goal) / target

By reducing the amount of raw materials used, promoting the sales of retread tires, and working to expand use of recycled raw materials, we will establish a raw materials procurement system that can be used in a sustainable manner with a minimal impact on the environment and society throughout the entire life cycle. These activities will contribute to reducing CO2 emissions in Scope 3 Category 11 (product use stage) by fiscal 2050.

Measures for vision achievement

We will develop and use raw materials with a reduced burden on the environment and society through the following initiatives in order to achieve business continuity.
  1. We will review factors such as structural design and material rigidity to fulfill the required performance while achieving weight reductions.
  2. We will work to promote sales of retread tires.
  3. Furthermore, we will develop tires and belts with a high regenerated mixture ratio, and reusable products.

Expand the use rate of rubber recycled materials

The Yokohama Rubber group is effectively utilizing recycled materials, and working to expand the usage of regenerated rubber in all models of tires.
Rubber recycled materials can be categorized as three types?rubber powder, reclaimed rubber, and rubber regenerated from in-house sources.
The percentage of raw materials (compounds) accounted for by rubber recycled materials was 2.36% for the entire group (2.46% for domestic business locations and 2.27% for overseas business locations). We are working to enhance rubber compounding and blending technologies with the aim of increasing the adoption ratio of rubber recycled materials overseas.
Regenerated rubber powder is a powdered material obtained by grinding up waste tires, principally by using heat on the waste tires, and this recycled material contributes to major savings and recycling of resources. In the past, regenerated rubber powder had large particle size, and blending with rubber resulted in degraded physical properties?this meant that it was difficult to use in tires. However, Yokohama Rubber established blending technologies that control physical degradation with compounds of fine powder grade, and commenced mass production of tires made from a compound of this regenerated rubber from February 2009. Over the past five years, the volume of regenerated rubber used by the Yokohama Rubber Tire Group has grown by around 2.9 times since 2008.

Usage ratio of regenerated rubber in all Yokohama Rubber products*1

*1 Ratio of compound usage based on results of acceptance inspections
Currently, we are utilizing regenerated rubber powder in various compounds found mainly in PC, TB, and OR tread liners manufactured at our plants in Japan, the United States, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, China, and India. In terms of technology, we will work to improve blending technologies, expand the applicable compounds that can be blended for regenerated rubber powder, and also actively strive to increase the compound volume through further miniaturizing of powder size.

Initiatives to expand usage, and development of new technologies

A regenerated rubber powder manufacturer has calculated that since use of recycled rubber powder was commenced at plants in the U.S. in 2006, the use amount at the Yokohama Rubber Group is equivalent to 1.88 million waste tires. This is equivalent to approximately 102,607 kl if converted into oil and equivalent to resource and energy savings of approximately 329,840,000 kWh if converted into power. In addition, if converted into CO2 emissions, this is equivalent to an emissions reduction of approximately 48,431 tons.
We are newly establishing and expanding overseas plants, and we plan to produce tires incorporating regenerated rubber, further developing the effective usage of recycled materials.
Resources circulation by using regenerated rubber powder
Environmental impact reduction effect from the use of regenerated rubber*2
*2 Data provided by Lehigh Technologies

High-rigidity wind sealant

Our automotive glass sealant (wind sealant) has a positive reputation for its high durability, and we have developed high-rigidity wind sealant to improve the rigidity of car bodies. This not only improves safety, but also contributes to lighter car bodies through a decrease in the volume of sealant used.

Recycling activities in the MB business

As with last year, recycled rubber is mainly used in the manufacturing of rubber belts for use with railway track ballast; with this ratio being 2.7% in fiscal year 2018.
The resin mold material (thermoplastic resin) used in hose manufacturing can be crushed and melted down again after use; however, in the past the powder generated in the crushing process has normally been discarded as waste. By introducing a two-stage crushing process, the crushed particles can be kept at a larger size in the first stage, controlling the generation of powder.
The powder generated in the next stage of the crushing process can be collected and reused with the same level of traceability as the larger crushed particles.
As a result, a recycling rate of over 90% has been achieved, and the annual usage of resin mold material has been reduced by 3.6 tons.

Yokohama Rubber Nagano Plant received the JEMAI Chairman's Award for metal scrap briquetting

We received the Japanese Environmental Management Association for Industry (JEMAI) Chairman’s Award for metal scrap (machining chip) briquetting at the Resource Recycling Technologies and Systems Awards in 2018.
The Nagano Plant manufactures joint fittings for hoses and assembles hoses and fittings. It has developed an effective system to contribute to resource recycling, in which the metal scrap powder generated during the production of metal fittings that had been sold to an external metal scrap supplier is briquetted for steel raw materials (solidified into a specific shape by hardening the powder with high pressure) for direct sales to steel companies.
While using raw materials in business activities is unavoidable, our final goal is a state which minimizes the use of the Earth’s resources.
A key issue is correctly assessing whether the use of reusable products and recycled materials is leading to a reduction in the use of the Earth’s resources and the environmental impact, and to deploy these assessments on a global level.