Connect with us

Economy & Tech

JR Central Upcycles Aluminum from Retired Shinkansen into New Creations

JR Central creatively repurposes high-quality aluminum from retired Shinkansen trains for various applications, ranging from machinery to sports equipment.



Baseball bats for children developed by JR Central and Mizuno from recycled materials from Shinkansen. August 1, 2023. (©JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)

Read the full story on Japan 2 Earth JR Central Upcycles Aluminum from Retired Shinkansen for Innovative Uses

The Shinkansen depends on premium, high-strength aluminum to ensure safety and high-speed capabilities. At the same time, recycling old train cars had been a significant challenge for the industry. That is until now. In March 2020, the Japanese railway company JR Central developed a method of extracting pure aluminum alloy from decommissioned 700 Series Shinkansen.

They do this by removing impurities. This achievement established a systematic approach for producing high-quality recycled aluminum.

N700 type Shinkansen similar to those being decomissioned by Japan Rail companies. (Photo by Japan Rail)

High Quality and Strength

According to JR Central, this recycling technique has a significantly smaller environmental impact compared to traditional aluminum manufacturing methods. In fact, it could reduce CO2 emissions by 97%. Moreover, due to the inherent strength and superior quality of the aluminum used in Shinkansen trains, the recycled material also meets Japan's construction standards. 

Tie pin made of recycled Shinkansen aluminum. (Provided by JR Tokai Corporation)
The shades at the entrance, designed to look like traditional noren curtains, are made of recycled Shinkansen aluminum. (Provided by JR Central)

As a result, recycled aluminum finds applications beyond decorative items. Its uses now extend to building materials and precision machinery. 

Continue reading the full story on Japan 2 Earth and also learn more about the products being made by recycling the aluminum of retired Japanese Shinkansen.

And find more great articles on the environment and the challenges of achieving the SDGs on our new website Japan 2 Earth (J2E), sparking a transition to the future.


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Hidemitsu Kaito


Our Partners