Plastic Recycling Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2022
Volume of Plastic Recycling (Total of Material Recycling and Chemical Recycling) in 2022 Estimated as 2380 Thousand Tons in Japan, 10520 Thousand Tons in DU, and 3200 Thousand Tons in US
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on plastic recycling trends in Japan, the EU, and the US, and found out the trends in recycling technologies, market players, and future perspectives.
Ever since the announcement of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) in the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in 2015, the recognition on decarbonization and recycling-based society has become higher worldwide. This has led the plastic recycling market to face an era of reform, as China banned on the importation of recyclable waste including waste plastics in 2017, and Basel Convention Plastic Waste Amendments clarified the scope of plastic wastes presumed to be hazardous and therefore subject to the PIC (prior informed consent) procedure.
The estimated volume of plastics recycled (based on weight, total of material and chemical recycling) in 2022 is 2,380 thousand tons in Japan, 10,520 thousand tons in the EU, and 3,200 thousand tons in the US.
Trends of Recyclable Resin Users (Beverage, Cosmetic Products, Daily Necessities, Automobiles)
In the beverage industry in Japan, bottle-to-bottle recycling has been in progress, which is to use waste PET bottles for manufacturing new PET bottles. Each beverage manufacturer sets their target for achieving bottle-to-bottle recycling. PET bottles in Japan have the characteristics of having the scheme to collect waste PET bottles by each municipality, with the collection rate close to 100%.
The container package industry in Japan has been pressing ahead with “Reducing” among the 3R (reducing, reusing, and recycling) attempts, such as environmentally-friendly designing, reducing the volume of plastics by reducing the weight and thinning the use of plastics, and development of refill containers, etc. Recently, there have been some efforts of proactively use recycled and biomass materials, and also reusable containers are in consideration for some cases. In addition, governmental agencies and businesses have gotten together to address creation of recycling schemes, such as setting up recycling boxes at drugstores, convenience stores, etc.
For vehicle recycling, the EU that leads in this field has been propelling to mandate the use of recycled materials for new vehicles to be manufactured from 2025 onward through the revised ELV Directive in 2022. Major European OEMs (automakers) have proactively driven utilization of recycled resins, and some OEMs have declared the target values for recycled content rate.
Plastic products derived from fossil resources have conventionally been considered as one of the reasons for environmental disruption such as waste disposal issues and climate change, which have induced plastic reduction activities by replacing plastics to paper or other materials, but on the other hand, there also are some concerns over ecological risks in that excess plastic reduction could affect global environment and ecosystem.
In such a situation, recycling of plastics has become more critical than ever before for eliminating bad images of plastics being environmentally disruptive, and for renewing the positioning of plastics through collecting the used products and recycle them as new plastic materials.
Plastics have a strength of being able to attain horizontal recycling that is a used product being able to be revived as the same product once again. In recent years, the efforts of bottle-to-bottle recycling by beverage manufacturers have spread in the society, while car-to-car recycling attempts by OEMs (automakers) have started attracting attention. By branding the whole efforts of such circulation of plastics, recycling from plastics to plastics such as even to spoon-to-spoon, cup-to-cup, etc., can be recognized generally and can spread broadly, which is expected to further expand plastic recycling.
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