Climate Change and Problems with Plastic
On the issue of plastics—which are mainstay products of the Mitsui Chemicals Group—we are focusing on the following two strategies that cover the entire supply chain.
By implementing these strategies and addressing the problem of marine plastic waste, we aim to close the plastic loop and help achieve a circular economy.
Biomass strategy: Expanding lineup of bio-based plastic products
Bio-based plastics made from plants—which grow by absorbing carbon dioxide—are attracting much attention as a possible substitute for conventional petroleum-derived plastics. As we believe that a shift to biomass feedstock encourages the recycling of resources, curbs the use of new fossil fuels, and therefore helps mitigate climate change, we aim to expand our lineup of bio-based plastic products.
Recycling strategy: Promoting plastic recycling
In the near future, policy incentives for products that contain recycled plastic and changing consumer attitudes may reduce demand for virgin plastic.
To adapt to these changes in social needs, we will incorporate recycled materials as well as recycled raw materials into our business. We are exploring a broad range of possibilities, including chemical and mechanical recycling of waste plastic, development of mono-material packaging, and support for startup businesses.
Problem of marine plastic waste
The problem of marine plastic waste owes to plastics that have escaped from the process for recycling resources and ended up in marine environments due to inappropriate waste management. Preventing plastic waste from leaking into rivers and the sea is of utmost importance, and requires a united effort by companies in the entire plastics supply chain. We are tackling this problem by participating in global alliances such as the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) as well as domestic alliances such as the Japan Clean Ocean Material Alliance (CLOMA) and the Japan Initiative for Marine Environment (JaIME).
Established in 2019. Signatories to the AEPW include global companies involved in the plastic value chain, such as chemical and plastic manufacturers, retailers, and waste management companies across the world. The Alliance is committed to the goal of investing $1.5 billion until 2024 to help end plastic waste and contribute to a sustainable society by driving progress in four key areas: infrastructure development to manage waste, innovation, education & engagement activities and clean-up activities. (As of June 2021, the AEPW has 58 corporations actively participating.)
The Alliance was established in January, 2019 as a platform for strengthening coordination among a broad range of interested parties across various industries. To date, the organization has engaged in technical information sharing among members and organized partner matching opportunities. In May 2020, the CLOMA Action Plan was released with the aim of achieving a package recycling rate of 60% by 2030 and a plastic product recycling rate of 100% by 2050. The activities it specifies include studying concrete measures and plans for demonstration tests. (As of June 2021, 430 corporations are participating.)
In September 2018, the Initiative is established by Japanese five chemical industry associations such as the Japan Chemical Industry Association. With the participation of Japanese corporations and organizations in the chemical industry, it communicates the findings on lifecycle assessments (LCA) of the environmental impacts of various recycling and energy recovery methods. In February 2020, the activities it organized to support developing Asian countries in upgrading their plastic waste management capabilities included a training seminar that presented the knowledge and experience of the Japanese participants.