In 2009, Ricoh released its first recycled full-color copier with high picture quality. This launch was made possible by the company’s tireless efforts since the 1990s to develop a rigorous quality control system across the entire process—from collection of end-of-life models to recycling. Since the introduction of our first recycled copier in 1997, Ricoh has continuously expanded the lineup of recycled models. With the addition of full-color models, Ricoh’s recycled copiers are now capable of meeting a variety of customer needs with a wide selection of monochrome and color models, all of which are marked by high quality and high environmental performance.
The Ricoh Group aims to expand and optimize its reuse and recycling business on a global scale in line with its 18th Environmental Action Plan. At Ricoh, resource conservation and recycling has been a pillar of our environmental conservation activities since the early 1990s, and we have been promoting the recycling of recovered MFPs, printers, toner and ink cartridges, and other supplies. About 140,000 units of our used products are collected in Japan each year, and all of them are recycled as products/materials or reused as components. Ricoh has thus been fostering the effective use of resources to minimize the consumption of new resources in manufacturing. Since the sale of our first recycled product in 1997, we have led the industry in expanding the lineup of recycled office equipment. Currently, we are able to meet diverse customer needs with a selection of 17 models from nine series, delivering output from 28 to 50 pages per minute in color and from 25 to 75 pages in black and white.
Ricoh has been operating its recycling business not only in Japan but also in Europe, including France and the United Kingdom, as well as the United States.
These days, the regional sales strategies for recycled products, which used to be sold individually by each of our local bases, are formulated by Ricoh Europe PLC (RE), our sales headquarters for the region. Under its leadership, we offer the GreenLine series of MFPs by collecting, sorting, and recycling used Ricoh MFPs in accordance with common standards shared by all bases. The number of countries where the GreenLine recycled MFPs are sold is increasing and the market is expanding across Europe. In order to supply models that meet the needs of each area, we have subdivided the European market into three segments: advanced countries where the recycled product market is established; advanced countries where the market is developing; and emerging countries. Moreover, by focusing on the differing customer acquisition opportunities in the markets for new and recycled products, we have classified customers into seven groups and conduct specific marketing activities targeting each group. As a result, we have been favorably increasing sales of our recycled products.
The GreenLine recycling process has been audited and certified by global business standards certification body BSI*. The process has also been highly rated by other organizations, including being recognized as a best practice for sustainable businesses as reported by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company in its "Towards the Circular Economy" report. * The British Standards Institution
We have also been fostering the supply of recycled products to emerging markets, where tremendous demand for these products is expected. Because we are able to recover large quantities of used products in advanced countries, we can optimize the supply-demand balance on a global scale by turning these recovered products into recycled products and selling them in emerging countries. We do, however, need to comply with the laws and regulations enforced in each country regarding the export and import of recovered and recycled products. To meet this requirement, we have been conducting comprehensive local activities to understand the market features and needs of each country since 2010. As a result of making these efforts, we became the first Japanese manufacturer to obtain approval from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine of China for the import of used products into that country for the purpose of locally manufacturing recycled MFPs.
Based on the approval, we have been sending used MFPs to our recycling base in Fuzhou, China since July 2015 for the local production of recycled MFPs. We began selling the products through Ricoh China (in Shanghai) in August. The used MFPs sent to the base include those recovered by the RICOH Eco Business Development Center newly opened in Gotemba City, Shizuoka Prefecture as well as those recovered in countries other than Japan. Going forward, we will establish a global, stable value chain for our recycled MFPs and optimize supply and demand. At present, we sell about 60,000 recycled MFPs each year, largely in advanced countries. But with the launch of the recycling base in China, we plan to expand the volume of sales of recycled MFPs in that country to more than 10,000 units per year in three years, with a view to expanding total annual sales to 80,000 units, including those sold in other emerging markets.
In November 2012, Ricoh released the imagio MP 7501RC/6001RC series of multifunctional monochrome digital copiers.
The average rate of used parts in the production of the series stands at 85% in weight, and we have reduced CO2 emissions during manufacturing by roughly 97%*1 from the previous model (produced as new units). The CO2 emissions reduction over the total lifecycle of imagio MP 7501RC and imagio MP 6001RC is estimated to be roughly 17% and 20%*2, respectively. Even though reusable parts are used with the series, they have passed quality inspections that are as strict as those for new units.
Both the imagio MP 7501RC and the imagio MP 6001RC achieve the same reduction rate.
The yearly environmental impact is calculated based on a five year lifecycle (for the previous model); the lifecycle is 10 years for the recycled model (five years each for the previous and recycled models).
The Ricoh Group has actively been working to reduce the use of packaging materials. In 1994, we introduced “eco packaging” which uses less cardboard.
In 2001, we introduced resin-based “resource-recirculating eco packaging” materials, which can be used repeatedly, in the market for the first time.
The packaging materials are mainly used for our recycled multifunctional copiers shipped within Japan. In addition, the Ricoh Logistics System Group has introduced RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to manage and improve the “resource-recirculating eco packaging.”
RFID technology manages each step of arterial and venous logistics flow to enable the steady collection and reuse of the packaging materials.
Ricoh provides customers with a factory kitting service. Specifically, for product to be delivered to a customer, the company attaches optional items and configures the necessary settings, including IP addresses, according to the specifications of the customer. Ricoh then directly delivers the product and all other items packed as one unit to the customer. This service helps shorten the installation time of the machine, and also contributes to a substantial reduction of packaging materials compared with the traditional delivery of items separately packaged in cardboard.
Moreover, the factory kitting service contributes to substantially improving the efficiency of logistics operations through direct delivery from the factory to the customer, and also increasing the transportation efficiency by reducing the overall shipping volume.
Conventional packaging versus the factory kitting service