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HomeEnvironmentToyo Ink and ITOCHU to Build Multilayer Packaging Recycling Pilot Plant to open in 2021 in Japan

Toyo Ink and ITOCHU to Build Multilayer Packaging Recycling Pilot Plant to open in 2021 in Japan

13 March 2021: Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co., Ltd., the parent company of the specialty chemicals manufacturing conglomerate Toyo Ink Group, and ITOCHU Corp. a leading global trading house, have entered into a cooperative agreement to establish a plastic recycling scheme for the recovery and reuse of multilayer film packaging materials. Specifically, by using their respective technologies and vast business networks, the two firms will develop the materials technology needed to create real circularity of multilayer flexible packaging by making currently unrecyclable multilayer plastic packaging into a recyclable material by 2022. The collective goal is to boost the plastic material recycling rate to more than 40% in Japan and abroad. At present, the recycling rate in Japan is about 27%.

Recently, the waste problem of single-use plastics has been attracting global attention. In Japan, while about 16% of plastic waste is simply burned, buried, or otherwise processed without being reused, about 56% relies on incineration methods, such as the thermal recycling and heat reclaiming. Currently, large amounts of plastic are not recycled.

To address the plastic waste issue, in 2019, Toyo Ink, in cooperation with a leading environmental solutions provider, developed an innovative plastic recovery technology for multilayered flexible packaging, where a deinking coating agent and a delaminating adhesive are applied to the plastic film surrounding the ink layers. After use, the packaging waste is subjected to an alkaline treatment in which the coating agent, adhesive and interlaying ink layers are cleanly released from the film substrate. This results in the recovery of high-quality plastic material that can then be reused to create products of new value. A pilot plant based on this plastic recovery process is currently being built in Japan and is set to become operational later this year.

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.

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