Film is essential when using any instant photo camera. Its frequent use makes the issue of whether film is sustainable pretty imperative. Fujifilm’s Instax Film is not very sustainable in terms of materials used to make the product, and the lack of transparency around the production of the film specifically further lowers its overall score, despite Fujifilm’s own contributions to the sustainability agenda.
Fujifilm makes it clear which parts of its product are recyclable or not but information on the actual materials used was harder to find. The actual instax film is not recyclable or biodegradable, and it was difficult to locate the exact materials its film product is made of. The chemicals typically used to develop film involve silver halides which are an environmental hazard that can pollute water systems when disposed of improperly.
The cardboard product packaging, the paper manual, the silver foil film packaging and empty film cartridge are supposedly widely recyclable according to Fujifilm. This may not be as clear cut for the film cartridge which is made of polystyrene - a type of plastic that is not commonly recycled. The plastic is also made out of fossil fuels (i.e. oil) and the chemicals incorporated during production can enter the environment through leaching in landfill.
The lack of transparency regarding the materials used in its product and the unsustainable materials used in the film’s result in its low score.
The precise manufacturing processes of Fujifilm’s film are not widely available. Extrapolating from how film is typically made we can assume that the standard chemicals are mechanically placed onto the film, air dryers are used to dry the film and final assembly is completed using machines. Fujifilm’s main manufacturing and assembly plant is in Japan, so presumably sizable emissions are generated from shipping globally.
Although Fujifilm has some recycling processes in place for old products that have potential to be repaired where customers can post them to a specified address, the same cannot be said for the disposal of its film which is a problem given the toxic and environmentally hazardous chemicals present in the product.
The low transparency in terms of the supply chains of its products on a granular level in particular makes it difficult to evaluate exactly how sustainable the product and so lowers the product’s score overall.
Fujifilm has received several appraisals and awards that recognise its efforts to promote CSR action such as through innovation in products and utilising its leading industry position to spread information on more sustainable practices. Its environmental targets focus on reducing carbon emissions, promoting the recycling of resources, contributing to renewable energy creation and chemical safety. It has clearly set out its goals and the timeline for reaching them. There are some parts of its sustainability report that are lacking. For instance, there are no clearly laid out plans to tackle its Scope 3 emissions (indirect emissions that are generated in a company’s value chain excluding purchased electricity, steam, heat and cooling).
Its overall report is fairly promising in terms of providing some concrete measures as to how it is approaching sustainability. For example, it lists how on track it is to meet its 2030 environmental goals with precise percentage figures and quite transparently indicates where they are not on track to meeting their goals. However, there is not enough information to see how sustainable their products are on a more granular, per product basis. This caps its overall rating.