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Fujitsu System Recycles CDs into PCs, Cuts Carbon Emissions 15%

Fujitsu says it has developed the PC industry’s first recycling system that collects the plastic from used CDs and DVDs for repurposing in the bodies of notebook PCs.

Compared to conventional notebook PC manufacturing processes, this system is expected to reduce the amount of newly produced plastic used by 10 tons per year and cut CO2 emissions by about 15 percent per year, Fujitsu says.

Fujitsu used this recycled plastic for part of the front panel (pictured) of its LIFEBOOK P772/E notebook PC for enterprise customers, a model in its summer 2012 lineup.

The recycling system performs quality control based on a chemical substances risk management database developed by Fujitsu Laboratories, to avoid mixing contaminants into the recycled plastic, the company says.

Fujitsu plans to expand this system to support a wider variety of recycled materials in addition to CDs and DVDs, and to use these plastics in other notebook PCs and products.

The company already collects, disassembles, sorts and recycles personal computers and other products at five recycling centers across Japan. However, using the recovered plastic in new computers poses a number of challenges — including toxic chemicals in the plastics — which, until now, has made it impossible to reuse recovered plastic in computer bodies, Fujitsu says.

CDs and DVDs are made from polycarbonate, a type of plastic suitable for use in the bodies of notebook PCs. And they do not include any contaminants, so Fujitsu deemed them a suitable material for recycling.

In June, Fujitsu installed a Toshiba wastewater treatment system at its plant in Nagano, Japan. The system recovers copper particles using 75 percent fewer chemicals, to produce a high-concentration sludge that can be recycled at a profit.

A month earlier, Fujitsu Frontech North America joined Casella Waste Systems’ Power of Three closed-loop recycling service, aimed at creating zero waste. The initiative picks up a customer’s recycling, processes that recycling into new products, and then provides those products back to the customer in the form of new hand towels, tissue paper and toiletry items.

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