Promoting a basic policy towards a recycling system for plastics
- To fulfill our responsibilities as a plastic film manufacturer
- New challenges starting with printing peripherals in mechatronics department
- Efforts for manufacturing that can recycle resources in apparel department
To fulfill our responsibilities as a plastic film manufacturer
In the plastic business, Gunze is transforming into a recycling-oriented business with the theme of responding to global environmental issues. In 2020, we are working on the development and sale of botanical shrink film as a renewable resource (biomass) to realize the replacement of petroleum-derived raw materials with natural materials such as plant-derived raw materials. We also continue to reduce food loss by supplying products which can extend the expiration dates of food and improve food safety. With the recent rise in international awareness of marine plastic issues and the aggravation of the plastic waste issues in emerging countries, the trend of tightening regulations on disposable plastics is accelerating, and the SDGs adopted by the United Nations in 2015 require a response. Gunze recognizes the social responsibilities of a business that manufactures and sells plastic film packaging materials. The company established "Basic policy towards a recycling system for plastics” in December 2019 in response to the marine plastic problem, where international efforts are accelerating. After that, Gunze announced that the "Basic policy towards a recycling system for plastics” adding “Promoting a basic policy towards a circular system for plastics” as the fifth Gunze materiality to promote company-wide efforts toward the realization of a sustainable society in January 2020. In order to realize that, Gunze will make the core factory in the plastic department a resource recycling factory and plans to complete it in 2026. Specifically, Gunze will actively utilize renewable energy (solar power generation, use of groundwater), construct a production plant packed with the latest energy-saving technologies, construct a ZEB (Net Zero Energy Building) office, and discharge all waste plastic from the plant. That will allow the company to achieve zero emissions and contribute to the reduction of CO₂. To achieve zero emissions, the company will build a recycling center to collect, decompose, and oil the film waste generated in the production process, and use the electricity generated from that oil as fuel in the production process. In the future, the company will aim to build a recycling-oriented society by establishing a technology for separating and regenerating dissimilar multilayer films, and a technology for regenerating waste plastic collected from inside and outside the company.
New challenges starting with printing peripherals in mechatronics department
Yoshio Kasamatsu (left), Hirohiko Kimura (right)
Do you know the type of machine called a stacker bundler that is widely used in the printing industry? This is a device that aligns (stacks) the paper discharged from the rotary press during the production process of newspapers and magazines, and puts them together in a bundle . In fact, about 95% of the stacker bundlers used in Japan are made by Gunze. By changing the width of the polypropylene band used in this machine from the current 12 mm to 9 mm, the amount of plastic material used has been reduced by 25%. The amount of plastic material to be disposed of after use by the customer has also been reduced by 25%, which can contribute to the reduction of the environmental load. In addition, it also leads to cost reductions of the band material. Currently, there are about 2,000 stacker bundlers that are delivered mainly to printing manufacturers, but we aim to further expand them in response to the growing awareness of each company's SDGs target.
Efforts for manufacturing that can recycle resources in apparel department
Packaging made of 10% biomass raw material
Gunze manufactures both apparel products and their packaging in apparel department. Regarding the packaging, Gunze began to use a package made of 10% biomass raw material, mainly made from plant-derived organic resources at a “HOT MAGIC ADVANCE LABEL” in the fall / winter 2019 season. The main raw material of the biomass plastics is sugarcane, which absorbs CO₂ by photosynthesis at the growth stage andit can be regarded as zero (carbon neutral) when it is incinerated as waste. In order to raise the biomass ratio in the future, Gunze will promote cost reduction and technological innovation, and collaboration with the industry so as to not reduce product appeal and convenience at the time of purchasing.