Climate Change and Problems with Plastic
Initiatives to Build a Circular Economy
The Mitsui Chemicals Group regards conversion to a circular economy as of prime importance to resolving social challenges such as climate change and plastic waste. We established a Carbon Neutral Strategy and a Plastic Strategy (recycling and biomass) and are now undertaking concrete actions.
Circular economy initiatives by the Mitsui Chemicals Group
: Carbon neutral strategy : Recycling strategy : Biomass strategy
: Carbon neutral strategy
: Biomass strategy
: Recycling strategy
Starting production of Japan's first renewable plastics from 100% bio-based hydrocarbons
Starting in 2021, we will introduce bio-based hydrocarbons produced by Finland-based Neste Corporation from renewable raw materials, such as bio-based waste and residue oils, as feedstock for our crackers at Osaka Works.
We will start producing and marketing renewable chemicals (such as phenol) and renewable plastics (such as polyolefin) under the mass balance approach, which allows for the allocation of bio-based content to specific products.
Sights set on world’s first bio-polypropylene commercial application
There are significant hurdles associated with manufacturing polypropylene from biomass materials and the technology has yet to be demonstrated on an industrial level. We are taking on the challenge of conducting world-first bio-polypropylene manufacturing trials by harnessing our new proprietary technology in which fermentation is a key reaction. By mainly using non-edible plants as the biomass raw material and converting the raw material residue to electricity, we aim to establish a sustainable technology that can be put to effective use.
Study launched with BASF to support chemical recycling in Japan
Chemicals borne out of chemical recycling can be used in the production of new materials such as plastics, without compromising on quality in even the most sensitive applications. This fact makes it a promising complementary solution for recycling plastic waste that is not suitable for mechanical recycling.
To address the plastic waste issue in Japan, we have partnered with BASF with a view to commercializing chemical recycling in Japan through cooperation across the value chain. The collaboration will combine BASF’s technologies and know-how accumulated through its ChemCycling™ project with our assets such as technologies and ethylene crackers. Together, the Mitsui Chemicals Group and BASF will evaluate collaborative business models and various options.
Joint Research with Nagaoka University of Technology to Propel Plastic Waste Recycling
Plastic waste often includes varying states of the material. This results in regenerated plastic obtained from mechanical recycling being unable to maintain a consistent level of fluidity or quality, which limits its range of possible applications. In a joint development project with Nagaoka University of Technology, we are working to develop technology that will facilitate in-line measurement and control for melted plastic’s fluidity, which will in turn help to stabilize the quality of the regenerated plastic.
Launching demonstration facilities for mechanical recycling of flexible packaging materials in fiscal 2021
The Mitsui Chemicals Group is working to cut down on the amount of plastic waste generated in the flexible packaging materials sector, which is the largest application for our strong business in polyolefin resins and films. We have been running demonstration tests aimed at recycling waste plastics, which were created from film production and printing processes, into new film to be used as a flexible packaging material. As part of our project, we have also introduced new facilities that facilitate the removal of printing from printed film. We plan to start demonstration testing using these facilities before the end of fiscal 2021. Going forward, we will consider expanding the scope of our project to also include waste plastics from lamination through to pouch production, filling, and consumption.
Collaboration with IBM Japan to Build a Blockchain-Based Recycling Platform
Securing traceability with clear identification of ingredients is a key issue in using recycled materials and parts. This joint project aims to establish traceability across the lifecycle of a material, from its stage as an ingredient—such as a monomer or polymer; the stage as a product—covering manufacturing, sales, and usage; and on to the stage of recycling—covering collection, disassembling, chipping, and reuse in new products.
Utilizing CHEMIPEARL™ as a Heat Sealant for Environmentally Friendly Paper Packaging
In TOKYO PACK 2021, a packaging exhibition held in February 2021, a new environmentally friendly paper package, Flepack ONE, was announced. We participated in developing Flepack ONE jointly with Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. and Yoshimoto Printing Inc. utilizing the materials, technologies, and facilities possessed by each company. This joint development opened an opportunity for us to introduce our CHEMIPEARL™ waterborne polyolefin dispersion as a heat sealant for environmentally friendly packages to both domestic and overseas packaging markets.
STABiO™ Won Incentive Award Under the 19th GSC Awards
Mitsui Chemicals’ PDI-based polyisocyanurate, STABiO™, won the Incentive Award under the GSC Awards presented by the Japan Association for Chemical Innovation. This award was given in recognition of our development of 1,5-Pentamethylene diisocyanate (STABiO™ PDI™)—the world’s first bio-based isocyanate—and its derivative polyisocyanate hardener.
Awards to acknowledge individuals and organizations who have made excellent contributions to the pursuit of green and sustainable chemistry (GSC).
ADMER™ EF Series, Environmentally Friendly Lineup of Adhesive Resin
ADMER™ is a polyolefin-based adhesive resin that Mitsui Chemicals developed as a world-first. ADMER™ is used in multilayered bottles, tubes, films, and sheets. Now the product lineup includes the eco-friendly ADMER™ EF Series that has been long awaited by customers to contribute to building a circular economy. The series comprises the following two grades: (1) biomass grade (Biomass ADMER), which contains at least 50 percent biomass, and (2) recycling agent grade, which improves the physical properties of plastics such as shock resistance and strength retention when recycling.
Gas Turbine Power Generation System
A highly efficient gas turbine power generation system was installed in Mitsui Chemicals Osaka Works (Takaishi City, Osaka Prefecture) and operations commenced on December 1, 2020.
The system increases the Works’ self-sufficiency in power. It also reduces fuel usage by the naphtha cracking furnaces in the ethylene plant by using the high-temperature exhaust generated by the power plant as the burning air used in the furnaces. This is reducing CO2 emissions from Osaka Works by 70,000 tons per year. We continue to employ various CO2 emissions reduction schemes toward carbon neutrality by 2050.