Seeking to discourage their country’s current plastic waste incineration and landfill practices, two Japanese companies have teamed up on the implementation of a recycling scheme for the recovery and reuse of multilayer film packaging materials.
Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co., Ltd., the parent company of the specialty chemicals manufacturing conglomerate Toyo Ink Group, and Itochu Corporation, a global trading house will combine their strengths to develop the technology needed to create a truly circular solution for ‘unrecyclable’ multilayer flexible packaging. Putting their respective technologies and vast business networks to work, the two firms aim to achieve this goal by 2022 and at the same time, to boost Japan’s plastic recycling rate from the current 27% to over 40% in Japan.
In 2019, Toyo Ink, developed a technology - in cooperation with the world’s largest environmental solutions company - to separate the ink, adhesive, and plastic layers of which traditional multi-layer film or packaging are made up. This involves an alkaline treatment in which the coating agent, adhesive and interlaying ink layers are cleanly released from the film substrate, allowing the recovery of high-quality plastic material that can then be reused to create new products. A pilot plant based on this plastic recovery process is under construction in Japan, which is set to become operational later this year.
Previously, Toyo Ink Group also announced plans to commence post-industrial recycling in 2022, and post-industrial and post-consumer recycling in commercial plants by 2025. This initiative, This initiative, said Shiina Harako, Project Manager, Marketing Division at Toyo Ink Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of the company, is also a major step towards the realisation of those plans.
“We are delighted to partner with Itochu in this ambitious project,” Harako added. “The ITOCHU Group brings to the table a whole host of major players in the global packaging value chain who share our vision of creating a recycling-oriented society.”
Under the agreement, Itochu will widely promote environmental solutions to food and daily necessities manufacturers, retailers and brand owners, by encouraging the development of packaging structures that use of this recycling technology and by promoting eco packaging design. In addition, Itochu will acquire exclusive marketing rights in Japan and preferential negotiation rights in Asia and Europe related to major product materials related to this recycling technology.
“Through this partnership, we hope to carve a clear path to realizing a circular economy for post-industrial plastic waste in Japan and elsewhere,” said Shiina Harako.