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Environmental Management
Sustainability Report 2006

Contribution to Environmental Protection through Products, Technologies and Services (3)
Pedestrian-Friendly Grating: Amagre Ecosoft
Shinko Kenzai, Ltd. a pioneer in grating products, has developed a new grating material called Amagre Ecosoft that was developed from the perspective of universal design.

Conventional metal grating can be inconvenient and even dangerous for pedestrians, especially the sight impaired. Canes, high heels, wheelchair wheels and baby stroller wheels can get caught in the interstices, and the metal surface can be slippery when wet. The Amagre Ecosoft grating is a water-permeable material made of hybrid rubber chips (pulverized rubber tire chips combined with a micro-aggregate) for use in covering openings in asphalt structures. It satisfies three main design concepts: 1) it has no openings that might impede pedestrian traffic; 2) it does not become slippery when wet; and 3) it is environmentally friendly (recycled material, low noise, blends in with surroundings, comes in different colors). It also complies with the Transportation Accessibility Improvement Law that went into effect in 2000, making it an ideal grating material that offers greater safety.

Conventional metal grating (left) and Amagre Ecosoft grating made of hybrid rubber chips (right)

Refining Gasoline from Sewage Sludge
Kobelco Eco-Solutions, Co., Ltd. is engaged in a joint project with the city of Kobe to develop practical facilities that can refine methane gas generated during the sewage treatment process into a usable gas that is nearly the same high quality as natural gas.

The company and Kobe began test operations at the Tosui Environmental Center in Nada Ward, Kobe in November 2004. They succeeded in concentrating methane gas with a purity higher than 98%, using a high-pressure water absorption method licensed from an overseas company. This was the first time that this method has been used in Japan, and it has been effective in removing impurities and stably refining the methane to the point where it is almost of the same high quality as natural gas. Produced by microbes during the sewage cleaning process, the refined methane has been dubbed "bio-natural gas" and is being used experimentally as fuel in buses, garbage trucks, and other municipal vehicles.

In July 2005, the company's bio-natural gas refining equipment and process were put on display at the 2005 Tokyo Sewage Works Exhibition held at Tokyo Big Sight. Kobe City also participated by providing a bus that uses bio-natural gas fuel, which visitors could ride. The use of this gas not only reduces consumption of fossil fuels, but is also an effective method for cutting CO2 gas emissions and combating global warming. As such, it is expected to enjoy widespread use in the coming years.

Kobelco Eco-Solutions has received the Fiscal 2005 Award for Superior Biomass Use: Prize of the Director of the Rural Development Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Japan Organics Recycling Association, the Japan Association of Rural Resource Recycling Solutions (JARUS), and the Biomass Katsuyo Kyogikai (Biomass Utilization Council).
Test-riding a bus that runs on bio-natural gas.
Test-riding a bus that runs on bio-natural gas.

New Lineup of Specialized Machinery for Recycling Construction Waste Material

EarthTechnica Co., Ltd. has made a full model change of its HIGH-Z Series comprised of four machines designed specifically for the recycling of construction waste material. In recent years, many dilapidated buildings are being torn down and replaced, resulting in an increased volume of waste concrete, asphalt, and other construction materials. The company developed the EI Series in 2004, but the new series feature higher performance capabilities to meet the growing needs of construction waste recycling facilities.

The newly developed machines include the HIGH-Z jaw crusher for primary crushing operations; the HIGH-Z F vibratory feeder for supplying waste material; the HIGH-Z B impact crusher for secondary and tertiary crushing; and the HIGH-Z WAVE screen for separating the material.

New Multi Rotor Duo Shredder
In 2005, EarthTechnica Co., Ltd. completed development of a new type of shredder called Multi Rotor Duo. It's the newest member of the Multi Rotor Series of shredders designed to process various soft materials such as plastic, paper, and wood chips. It features three essential design characteristics: large processing capacity, compact size, and high energy efficiency.
Based on the company's own crushing concept, the structure and specifications of the Multi Rotor Duo enable the shredder to process three to five times more material compared with other machines of similar type. In addition, its improved feed grip makes the use of a pusher unnecessary, contributing to a more compact body that requires less space. Featuring greater crushing efficiency and a streamlined design that requires no power for a pusher, the Multi Rotor Duo delivers high performance with low energy consumption.
Multi Rotor Duo
Multi Rotor Duo

Waste PVC Recycling
Kobelco Eco-Solutions, Co., Ltd. began construction of a waste polyvinyl chloride (PVC) recycling plant in Futtsu, Chiba Prefecture in March 2005, and the recycling plant is currently run by Kobelco Vinyloop East Co., Ltd., a joint venture between Kobelco Eco-Solutions and Nippon Solvay (a Japanese corporation of Solvay S.A., a Belgium chemical manufacturer). The joint venture recycles waste PVC - such as used agricultural materials, construction and interior materials, electric cables, and water pipes - into regenerated PVC having the same quality as virgin plastic using the Vinyloop Process developed by Solvay.

From 26,000 metric tons of waste PVC, 18,000 metric tons of recycled PVC can be produced annually. The recycling plant has been in operation since April 2006.

This is the first plant in Japan for recycling waste PVC. The business received an Eco-Town subsidy from the Ministry of the Environment and hopes to contribute to the realization of a resource-recycling society.
Business Model

Features of PVC Recycling Process
  1. Recycles all types of PVC waste into regenerated PVC.
  2. Can be recycled as 100% pure PVC compound. Chemical composition can be adjusted by adding plasticizers and additives at the PVC recycling stage.
  3. Recycled PVC has the same degree of rigidity, elongation, and insulation as new PVC.
  4. Waste PVC can be recycled and used in the same application as the original PVC material.