3R initiatives (Reduce: reduce the volume of waste, Reuse: use repeatedly, Recycle: utilize once again as resources) have started in various settings with the goal of realizing a recycling-based society. To cultivate an understanding and cooperation with the 3R promotion, the eight ministries and agencies involved with 3Rs (Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Ministry of the Environment, Consumer Affairs Agency) have designated the month of October each year as the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Promotion Month (3R Promotion Month)” to promote various educational activities for broad dissemination across the nation.
Promoting 3R activities in mobile telephone services
We strive to reduce the amount of paper resources used in the sales of mobile information devices by making individual packing boxes smaller, converting instruction manuals and other bundled documents to applications, and utilizing iPads in our stores.
Moreover, to replace the conventional paper-based invoices, we launched an “online charges guide” starting with the October 2006 statement which allows users to view electronic billing statements over the Internet from a SoftBank mobile telephone or PC. This is provided as a basic service to all individual subscribers.
We promote trade-ins of previously used and functional mobile telephones and tablets during model upgrades, etc.
Processing all mobile telephones and tablets which are still usable as waste material increases the environmental loading. Because even older devices which are no longer in demand within Japan can be effectively put to use overseas, trade-in devices are refurbished and reused primarily in developing countries.
Collection of used mobile telephone handsets and battery packs, etc.
As a member of the Mobile Recycle Network (MRN), an organization which engages in mobile telephone and PHS recycling activities, we promote the collection of used mobile telephone handsets, battery packs, chargers, USIM cards, and other items regardless of the mobile telephone carrier or manufacturer. To make customers feel at ease and encourage cooperation with recycling efforts, mobile telephone handsets are processed for recycling by being physically destroyed with a “mobile telephone punch” during collection. Approximately 1.1 million used mobile telephone handsets were collected during FY 2018.
As part of our product stewardship efforts intended to reduce environmental loading, used mobile telephone handsets and battery packs are collected and go through recycling processing to recover the rare metals (palladium, cobalt, etc.), gold, silver, copper, and other resources that they contain. In addition, the remaining by-products (slugs) of the recycling process are used as raw materials for concrete cement while the plastic materials from the handsets are recycled as supplement fuel and recycled plastics.
Besides mobile telephones, we also promote the recycling of used cables, switching equipment, utility poles, and other telecommunications equipment waste material when upgrading and removing networking equipment.
Implementing educational activities to teach about recycling
We host an environmental class called “Recycle” where children can learn the importance of recycling through firsthand experience of mobile telephone disassembly. The purpose of this program is to have children actually breakdown the resources (rare metals) within mobile telephones and use their creativity by making handcrafted works which use the mobile telephones to learn about recycling while having fun. As of FY 2018, a total of over 200 children have participated in the six classes which have been offered.
Reasons why mobile telephone recycling is required
Mobile telephone handsets, batteries, and chargers, etc. contain rare metals (palladium, cobalt, etc.), gold, silver, copper, and many other precious resources with limited output which are reused as raw materials for components in electronic devices, etc.
Because rare metals can be more efficiently recovered through recycling rather than digging them up from a mine, the advancement of recycling not only prevents deforestation and other forms of environmental destruction due to mining but also avoids conflicts over mining rights. Moreover, such efforts also lead to more effective usage of the mining resources which Japan lacks. We ask for your continued understanding and cooperation with our recycling efforts.
Implementing 3R activities
at the office
Promoting green purchasing
As part of our green purchasing efforts, starting in July 2004, as a general rule we changed all of our copy paper to recycled paper products which comply with the Green Purchasing Act. Moreover, Green Purchasing Act compliant products, Eco Mark products, and other stationery supplies with environmental labels are displayed on the purchasing web site to promote the green purchasing of products with a low environmental load.
Internal reuse of furniture
Out of a concern for the environment, a reuse shelf was installed at the entrance of the Employee Support Center on the 19th floor of our headquarters office for the purpose of controlling waste discharge. We have implemented a mechanism by which furniture and stationery which are no longer needed by various departments are collected and internally reused.
Declaration of zero paper usage in internal operations
Since April 2012, SoftBank Corp. has advanced a “Declaration of zero paper usage in internal operations” and has been proactively promoting a shift to paperless operations for all paper used in internal and external procedures as well as paper used in reports and meetings, etc.
Achieving “100% paperless” operations
in the customer support center
To eliminate the risk of information leaks due to the removal of printed media, individual operations which used a large volume of paper including manuals, memos, and notices were identified and improved to achieve “100% paperless” (zero paper usage) operations within the Customer Support Center which handles private customer information. As a result, annual paper usage has been reduced by 3.12 million sheets (equivalent to 240 tree logs) compared to previous years. In addition to the Customer Support Center, other departments which handle private information also need to achieve “100% paperless” operations, so we will continue to make improvements going forward.
Security box for collecting confidential documents
Instead of individually processing unnecessary documents as wastepaper, they are collected in a special locked security box for collecting confidential documents and batch dissolved at a later date to ensure security and recycling as toilet paper.
Processing industrial waste
in the appropriate manner
We aim to reduce the final disposal volume by devising ways to reuse telecommunications equipment waste and construction material waste from network facilities while also implementing the proper disposal of industrial waste created by offices, distribution centers, and other business activities based on the Industrial Waste Disposal Act.
Buying back unnecessary
At SB C&S, we provide an “ICT Lifecycle Service” which buys back unnecessary ICT equipment as part of our ICT equipment sales efforts. Out of a concern for the environment, the purchased products are reused and recycled*, waste discharge is controlled, and they are efficiently utilized as precious earth resources and socially recycled products.
- *The recycling rate is approximately 99.6% in the case of desktop PCs.