Promoting a basic policy towards a recycling system for plastics

Promoting a basic policy towards a recycling system for plastics

Promoting resource circulation strategy and the Circular Factory

Conceptual drawing of the new Moriyama FactoryConceptual drawing of the new Moriyama FactoryConceptual drawing of the new Moriyama Factory

In the plastic film field, Gunze went in three directions: (1) shifting to using recycled materials and biobased materials, (2) reducing food losses, and (3) constructing a Circular Factory, conforming to our Basic Policy for Plastic Resource Circulation set forth in December 2019. With current radical market changes, priority assigned to the reduction of environmental impact increased significantly in addition to what was formerly considered most important, namely quality and cost. Our activities have therefore shifted from numbers-oriented targets to implementing specific activities. Gunze will now promote reducing environmental impact in conjunction with increasing the use of biomass-derived materials, cutting the consumption of petroleum-based materials. Specifically, we will focus on olefin, a material with low specific gravity, as it holds potential to create new value.
January 2021 marked the launch of a full-scale project for building a resource-circulating factory. The first step is constructing an additional factory building, due for a June 2022 completion. The new factory’s roof will be entirely covered with solar panels, with renewable energy such as groundwater (cryogenic energy) extensively promoted. In addition, plastic waste resulting from the production process will be reduced while labor-saving and automated processes will rapidly come online as we adopt the latest technologies. We had hoped to achieve zero emissions and totally eliminate plastic waste generation by 2026, but are pleased to have moved up the schedule by two years. Next phase for achieving zero emissions concerns the construction of a recycling center, where plastic waste generated from the production process will be recycled as raw material, and non-recyclable waste is used to fuel energy generation for the production process. In addition, we are developing technology to separate and regenerate multilayer laminated films made from different polymers that made handling difficult, and another technology for recycling plastic waste from general collection, as we aim for a resource-circulating society.

Promoting the use of biomass plastics

Promoting the use of biomass plasticsPromoting the use of biomass plastics

In plastic films, we have been committed to developing shrink films made from biobased raw materials. Shrink films are used for labels in plastic bottles, foodstuff, and other daily-use products that serve as the “face of a product” to communicate content appeal to consumers. As such, when we develop biobased shrink films, we strive to offer an equally attractive or even more attractive appearance than conventional shrink film labels that use petroleum-derived raw materials.
In the early development stage, we had to overcome many issues such as films becoming cloudy or wrinkling after being shrunk that compromised the label’s appearance. But after a year of hard development work, we were able to offer both an attractive appearance as well as no-compromise environmental performance. Now we are planning to market a film with a 50% biomass content in FY2021. With all the accelerated technological breakthroughs answering environmental issues, we aim to supply customers with products that combine attractiveness and environmental performance in an optimal manner by creatively utilizing cutting-edge technologies.