Environmental Conservation

Resource Conservation and Recycling

Our goal is to reduce the consumption of new resources by 25% by 2020 (from the 2007 level). To reach that goal, we utilize materials in the most effective way possible, including minimization of new inputs. We are making our products smaller and lighter, employing parts with longer lifecycles, recycling and reusing parts and products, and expanding the use of renewable resources.

Resource input structure and five reduction measures
Resource input structure and five reduction measures

Smaller and lighter products

Weight reduced by 65% and dimensions by 37%

The full-color MFPs in the RICOH MP C6003/C5503/C4503/C3503/C3003 series (launched June 2013) are more than 65% lighter than previous models in their class. The series features thinner resin and metal plates, as well as a new, lightweight frame equipped with reinforced surfaces and corners for cabinet solidity.
After repeated simulations to test strength and shock resistance, we successfully lowered body weight from 209 kg to 102 kg. And by redesigning the paper-feed, we were able to integrate a side cabinet with the main unit, resulting in a 37% reduction of the dimensions.
Overall, by making it lighter and more compact — and by using recycled and biomass plastic — we have created a product that uses resources more efficiently to place less of a burden on the environment.

Reduction of MFP size: Current and previous generations compared
Reduction of MFP size: Current and previous generations compared

Use of recycled materials

Products made from electric-furnace steel sheets

The Ricoh Group is maximizing use of renewable resources by developing new kinds of recycled materials suitable for imaging equipment.
Most imaging equipment primarily uses steel sheets made in blast furnaces (i.e. sheets made from iron ore), due to the need for thinness, conductivity and ease of processing. Steel sheets produced in electric furnaces (i.e. sheets made principally from steel scrap) are used mainly as construction material. The Ricoh Group, in cooperation with Tokyo Steel Co., Ltd., developed an industry first: electric furnace-made steel sheets that have properties similar to those of blast-furnace steel sheets. These new sheets — comprised of 100% recycled steel scrap — are suitable for imaging machines.
We first used electric-furnace steel sheets to make parts for the imagio MP 9002/7502/6002/6002GP series released in July 2012. In 2013, parts made from electric-furnace steel sheets are also being used in other Ricoh machines sold throughout the world — RICOH MP C8002 SP/C6502 SP, RICOH Pro6100 series, and RICOH Pro C5110S/C5100S.
We are continuing efforts to increase the use of recycled steel in our machines so as to reduce the need for new resources and cut the cost of procurement. To that end, the Ricoh Group has established a "closed loop materials recycling" system for iron*1. This allows us to sell iron recovered from used Ricoh products to steel manufacturers and secure a stable supply of steel sheets.
Should the price of our scrap iron fall due to economic factors (such as a recession in emerging nations), this recycling program will become a heavier burden. We are preparing for this possibility by creating more uses for electric-furnace steel sheets. This will allow us to take advantage of scrap iron surpluses and make the program less vulnerable to price fluctuations.

*1 Due to the gap between the total volume produced annually by the steel industry (millions of tons) and the amount Ricoh consumes annually, not all the scrap iron we recycle will find its way back into metal sheets used in our products. We believe we have turned this situation into a virtual closed loop through cooperation with a steel manufacturer. By managing processes from the collection of scrap iron to the production of metal sheets in electric furnaces, we can compensate for the difference between the amount of scrap iron we supply and the amount of metal sheets we purchase.

Front Runner

Reuse of products and parts

Marketing recycled products in Japan

Resource conservation and recycling has been one of Ricoh's key missions since the early 1990s, and that includes recycling MFPs, laser printers, toner cartridges and supplies. More than 200,000 used Ricoh products are collected each year and fully recycled*2 or reused.
Since the release of our first recycled copier in 1997, Ricoh has expanded its lineup of pre-owned machines. We have now taken the industry lead in offering recycled machines, including 17 models from 9 series of copiers, with output ranging from 28 to 50 pages per minute in color and from 25 to 75 pages in monochrome.
Now we are taking our reuse business to countries and regions outside of Japan.

*2 Recycling rate: 99.5%

GreenLine: sustainable printing systems in Europe

MFPRicoh Europe PLC (RE), the European sales headquarters, has long collected and recycled products to be distributed again. Currently RE offers its customers the GreenLine series, whereby MFPs are collected, selected, and renewed according to a common standard, before being placed with customers again.
RE sets a quality standard for recycled products that is the same level as that of the same product model currently out on the market, and carefully checks the quality of each component. New operating software ensures that GreenLine devices are right up to date. Products that are confirmed to have met the quality standard are certified with the GreenLine label before being shipped out.
The GreenLine recycling process has been audited and certified by the global business standards company BSI*3, which confirms the reliability of the process.
This effort is highly rated as a best practice for sustainable businesses, as reported by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company in its "Towards the Circular Economy" report published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

*3 The British Standards Institution

Use of renewable resources

Metal-catalyst-free polymerization of PLA at low temperture

Polylactic acid made through the use of Ricoh technology.
Polylactic acid made through
the use of Ricoh technology.

In 2012, with the cooperation of Shizuoka University, Ricoh developed technology that makes possible the polymerization*4 of polylactic acid (PLA) at low temperatures without the use of a metal catalyst. Through the use of this technology, PLA — a bioplastic compound made from biomass (plant-derived) materials — can be produced using hyperbaric CO2 or supercritical*5 carbon dioxide and organic molecule catalysts. As this does not require the use of organic solvents or metal catalysts, PLA can be manufactured in a safe, high-quality and low-cost way. Since its uses are not limited to imaging equipment, this new technology is expected to spur the use of biomass resources in a wide variety of products.

*4 Polymerization is the process whereby two or more small-molecule chemical compounds (whether of the same type or different types) are bonded chemically to form a single high moleculeweight compound.
*5 Supercritical refers to a state where a material is held at or above its critical temperature and pressure. It is difficult to determine the state of a supercritical material, whether gas or liquid, as such materials can be diffused like a gas and dissolved like a liquid.

Biomass toner

Ricoh has been working for several years on biomass*6 toner, which uses recyclable, plantbased resin as a primary material in the toner for multifunctional copiers. In November 2009, Ricoh released the world's first MFP equipped with biomass toner — the "for E toner" — with a biomass content of 25%. Creation of the biomass toner involved the development of a new plantbased resin, since unlike conventional plant-based resins used for plastic parts, the resin used for toners must have excellent chargeability and fluidity as well as low-temperature fixing and heat resistance.

*6 Biomass resources are organic resources that are biologically reproducible, excluding fossil resources.

Resource conservation / recycling

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