Face CASE28 Face

100% recycling of plant wastewater achieved for effective use of water resources

Akira Hayashida, Engineering Coodinator, Facilities Department, Business Administration Division, Honda Engineering Co., Ltd.

Akira Hayashida, Engineering Coodinator, Facilities Department, Business Administration Division, Honda Engineering Co., Ltd.

In 2010, Honda Engineering succeeded in the construction of a closed-loop system for recycling wastewater from Honda Engineering’s plants.

 Honda Engineering Co., Ltd. is the Honda Group company that conducts research and development of manufacturing technologies for the mass production of Honda motorcycles, automobiles, and power products. It also develops and introduces the production facilities actually installed in Honda plants.
 Honda Engineering made an early start to giving consideration to the effective use of water resources and proactively working to treat plant wastewater. As of June 2013, Honda Engineering purchases no industrial water, discharges no industrial wastewater, and only purchases and discharges the absolute minimum volume of water necessary for domestic use. Its closed-loop water recycling system, completed in 2010, is still rare in factories throughout Japan. It purifies the domestic and industrial wastewater produced by the plant for reuse on the premises.
  The history of this closed-loop system started with one of the goals Honda set in order to fulfill its social responsibility. Akira Hayashida, the engineering Coodinator overseeing system maintenance and operations, spoke to us about it.
 “Honda has set specific water use reduction targets to achieve by 2020 and is carrying out initiatives to use recycled water in production processes and save water through various activities. At Honda Engineering, we decided we should begin this work immediately, so we decided to aim for 100% water recycling by 2010.”

Honda Engineering Co., Ltd., located in Haga, Tochigi Prefecture

Honda Engineering Co., Ltd., located in Haga, Tochigi Prefecture

Honda Engineering succeeded in the recycling of domestic and industrial wastewater and has been carrying out closed-loop water recycling since 2010.

Honda Engineering succeeded in the recycling of domestic and industrial wastewater and has been carrying out closed-loop water recycling since 2010.

It all began in 1990 with an initiative to build good community relations by achieving the cleanest water in Japan.

 Although Honda Engineering set its goal for a closed-loop water recycling system in 2005, 15 years earlier it had already begun working on environmentally responsible water processing that would form the basis for such a system. The impetus for this was the unique local conditions of Haga, Tochigi Prefecture, where the company is currently located.
 Hayashida explained, “In 1990, our facilities were relocated here, to Haga, Tochigi, an agricultural region abundant in nature, with the Nomoto River flowing nearby and rice fields extending throughout the basin. The local residents were concerned that the water and soil necessary for agriculture might become polluted. In order for Honda Engineering to be accepted by the local residents, we had to do something to protect this environment. That was when our work on water processing began.”
 At the time, it was Staff Engineer Kazunari Ishida who led efforts to come up with a solution to this issue. Although Ishida was unable to take part in the interview, Hayashida reminisced on Ishida's thoughts at that time.
 “Rather than simply trying to pass legal water standards, Ishida gave serious thought to how we could win over the residents and achieve harmonious relations with the community.”
 Ishida thereupon arrived at a single goal: to purify wastewater to a standard that is cleaner than the cleanest river in Japan before discharging it. After all, Honda Engineering wanted local residents to have peace of mind. Ishida figured that rather than just expressing that sentiment in words, the company should demonstrate it by setting its own high target and taking action to achieve it. That was the beginning of Honda Engineering’s work in water treatment. Research aiming for the water quality of the Shimanto River, a river famous in Japan for its purity, was conducted and eventually led to the discharge of water of a quality suitable for human consumption. By maintaining this standard, the company was able to gain recognition by the local residents as a trusted partner.

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