Panasonic leads the way for green brands

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IN October 2007, Panasonic announced its ‘eco ideas’ strategy which has a variety of environmentally friendly goals, including the reduction of CO2 emissions at all manufacturing sites. The eco-friendly ideas not only help to sustain the environment, but also serve to improve the competitiveness of the company.
President of Panasonic, Fumio Ohtsubo explains: “Developing energy-saving technologies, making products smaller and lighter, and reducing running costs are activities that will increase product competitiveness”. He also goes on to explain that: “Measures such as not using harmful chemical substances and designing recyclable products have come to directly influence customers’ purchasing decisions”.
Recycling at PETEC
One way in which Panasonic is leading the industry in eco-conscious activities is with its state-of-the-art product recycling plant. Located outside of Osaka, Japan, the Panasonic Eco Technology Center Co. Ltd. (PETEC) first opened in 2001 and currently processes CRT TVs, washing machines, refrigerators and air conditioning units,  recycling around 700,000 products each year. There are also plans to begin recycling LCD and plasma TVs in the not-too-distant future.
Built with visitors in mind, the centre is open to the public and has already hosted more than 70,000 visitors.
PETEC president Kazayuki Tomita describes the centre: “PETEC is a site committed to the total recycling of materials. We do not just dismantle four categories of used home appliances appropriately and recover the recyclable materials, but we also work in the business to generate resources by creating new materials from urban waste products using new technologies and production methods. We also promote R&D activities as a site to communicate information into manufacturing, and all of our employees engage in daily ‘Treasure Hunting’ from products to products”.
Including Panasonic products, the centre also recycles appliances from around 20 other brands, including Toshiba and JVC.
Eco House
The manufacturer also has a number of ecology ideas on show at the Panasonic Center in Tokyo, the highlight of which is its Eco & UD House. UD refers to Universal Design which Panasonic bases on the following principles: easy-to-understand operation, natural posture and ease of movement, peace of mind and security, uncomplicated displays and indicators, space to support easy access, consideration of how product is used and maintained.
Mixing this concept of ergonomic universal design with eco-friendly ideas, the house is based on a prediction of people’s lifestyle in 2010 and sets out to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions to one third of the figure recorded in 1990.
From its wind and solar-powered security system to its home fuel cell co-generation system, the house uses every means possible to reduce energy consumption. Other measures include improved house insulation and a rain recycling system.
Along with built-in wall storage, the kitchen features shelving that can be lowered with the pull of a leaver, cutting out the need for a footstool, and a dishwasher and dryer with sterilizing mist, which saves on the amount of water needed to wash dishes. An interactive monitor also allows the kitchen to be used to access information or control equipment around the house.
The living room features Panasonic’s record-breaking 103in plasma screen which is integrated into the wall. Customizable for each family member, the screen can be operated with an innovative remote control unit. Along with the usual entertainment functions, the screen can be used to monitor security and energy use in the home.

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