Toshiba is one of the world's largest and most innovative manufacturers and are convinced that environmental considerations need to be built into every Toshiba product and process, from design and development though to manufacturing, usage and recycling.
In fact, Toshiba has been taking steps to ensure our business and consumer laptops are more environmentally friendly for a long time.
In 1998, Toshiba developed halogen and antimony-free printed circuit boards that do not generate dioxins even if burned.
Toshiba adopted lead-free soldering in 2001. This was a major technical challenge as lead-free soldering requires a temperature of 250 degrees centigrade, and every component has to be able to resist this.
Toshiba launched our first PC with a printed circuit board and case that complied with the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) legislation in January, 2005.
Toshiba was the first manufacturer in the world to develop a fully RoHS compliant laptop, and our entire range became compliant well ahead of the mandated deadline.
In our 4th Voluntary Environmental Plan for the period 2005 to 2010 we set the objective of improving product eco-efficiency in 2010 by 2.2 times compared with 2000. This is a significant, and voluntary, commitment.
The life-cycle approach is good for life
One of our key objectives is to reduce the environmental impact of our products throughout their life-cycle. To do this, we assess every stage of the process, from procurement through to disposal.
- Procurement stage
- Product design and manufacturing stage
- Distribution stage
- Usage stage
- End-of-life stage: re-use and recycling
1. Procurement stage (selection of parts, materials and so on)
At this stage, we aim to eliminate prohibited and restricted substances, reduce the quantity of compound materials, reduce the number of parts that are difficult to disassemble, and minimise the use of natural resources.
Achievements in this area include becoming the first laptop and notebook vendor in the world to fully comply with the European Union's RoHS standard.
In addition, Toshiba has voluntarily decided to eliminate another eight hazardous substances from the manufacturing process.
Toshiba publishes a 60 page corporate procurement policy that requires component suppliers to meet stringent benchmarks for green manufacturing and environmentally sustainable raw material extraction.
2. Product design and manufacturing stage
Toshiba is focused on making laptops in a sustainable way. This starts at the design stage and permeates every step in the production process. These efforts are focused on eliminating the use of chemical substances that are unnecessary in the manufacturing process, reducing the amount of material used in packaging of parts, and designing each product to deliver a long working life - an objective that also provides users with better value for money.
Achievements in this area include becoming the first laptop manufacturer in the world to eliminate lead solder and the first to remove the ozone-depleting CFCs.
Toshiba is also aiming to reduce the level of emissions generated by our manufacturing processes to zero. This objective has been achieved at our Ome complex in Japan, and two other centres are on track to achieve this by 2010.
3. Distribution stage
By reducing the quantity of packaging materials, Toshiba has not only reduced the quantity of materials used, but also reduced the amount of fuel consumed in shipping and delivery.
Toshiba has also introduced styrene-foam-free packaging, reducing use of materials derived from non-renewable sources like oil.
4. Usage stage
Toshiba aim is to help individual end-users minimise their own impact on the environment. We have achieved this by increasing reliability, thus reducing the need for spare parts and service, and by making laptops more and more power efficient.
Toshiba is world leader in advanced power management systems, enabling users to customise their laptop's settings to minimise power use.
We have developed an original power-saving utility that makes the best of the power management capabilities of our laptops. The utility offers four power saving modes that can accurately control CPU processing speed, LCD luminosity, pausing of hard disk drives and LCD power OFF, depending on how the PC is used or how much battery power is left.
5. End-of-life stage: re-use and recycling
An integral part of the design process is focused on making Toshiba laptops and notebooks easier to disassemble and recycle at their end-of-life stage. We also provide information within the product that helps the recycling process by indicating the raw materials used in each component that weighs over 25 grams.
Toshiba has also established a closed materials recycling system that enables us to manufacture laptops making full and effective use of used plastic cases, plastic mouldings and die waste generated in the manufacturing process. Like the recycling of magnesium alloy cases, this material recycling system is one of the most advanced in the industry.