Demand for Recycled Plastics in Japan: Key Research Findings 2024

Recycled Plastics Used Domestically for Product Manufacturing in 2023 Estimated at 515,000 tonnes

Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has conducted a survey on the domestic plastic recycling market and found out the trends of industries using recycled plastics, and future perspective of plastic recycling.

This press release denotes the estimate quantity of recycled plastics used in domestic product manufacturing for 2023 and demand forecasts for 2025 and 2030. 

Demand Forecast of Recycled Plastics Used for Product Manufacturing in Japan
Demand Forecast of Recycled Plastics Used for Product Manufacturing in Japan

Market Overview

In this research, we surveyed the domestic demand for recycled plastics for production of PET bottles, food packaging, automobile, home appliances, pallets, etc. The target recycled plastics are the plastics that are produced through mechanical recycling or chemical recycling (monomerization, oil conversion). The total quantity of recycled plastics used domestically for product manufacturing was estimated at 515,000t in 2023. In detail, 220,000t was used for production of beverage containers (PET bottles), 150,000t for food packaging (rigid plastics packaging made from PET, PS food packaging trays), 25,000t for automobiles, 30,000t for home appliances, 60,000t for pallets, and 30,000t for other items.

In the “Plastic Resource Circulation Strategy” in May 2019, the government set “3R+Renewable” as its principle, adding “renewable” to traditional 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle), along with six milestones as future directions. Subsequently, the “Plastic Resource Circulation Act” came into effect in April 2022, which encompasses measures to promote plastic recycling by all stakeholders in the lifecycle of plastics, from product design to disposal. Against these backgrounds, companies of various industries have been embarking on achieving resource circulation. In many cases, they set targets for the use of recycled resin and/or the reduction of using petroleum-based resources at corporate level or at industry level.

Noteworthy Topics

Industry Efforts to Establish Scheme for Collecting Plastic Waste

To secure stable procurement of raw materials of recycled resin, various industries have been embarking on developing schemes for collecting plastic waste. Beverage manufacturers have been collecting waste PET bottles from recycling bins (located next to vending machines). Convenience store chains have been setting PET bottle collection machines at storefronts. One of the convenience store chains have integrated a traceability system to the collection machine to test hypotheses regarding consumer behavior and efficacy of collection system, aiming to identify challenges regarding implementation of plastic waste collection scheme. Recycling bins for waste plastic products, such as sundry goods, cosmetics, and stationeries, are also placed at stores and public facilities. Sundry goods manufacturers have been collecting items such as detergent refill packs and toothbrushes. Cosmetics manufacturers have been collecting empty cosmetics containers. Stationery manufacturers have been collecting pens.

Future Outlook

While beverage manufacturers that have committed to achieve 100% sustainable packaging by 2030 (recycled PET and plant-derived PET) and automobile industry that has been actively engaged in plastic recycling in recent years are the main demanders of recycled plastics, the demand is also expected to expand in various other industries for the sake of achieving resource circulation.

Against the backdrop of sophistication of MR method and implementation of CR method at quite a few chemical manufacturers, recyclers (the recyclers and manufacturers of recycled resin), and masterbatch manufacturers by 2030, we project the supply of high-quality recycled resin supply increases, and thus use of recycled plastics will be accelerated. The demand for recycled resin for product manufacturing is forecasted to grow to 936,000 tonnes by 2030.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: December 2023 to February 2024
2.Research Object: Demanders of recycled plastics, including manufacturers (of beverages, automobiles, daily necessities, cosmetics, stationery, household appliances), construction companies, house builders, and convenience stores
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews by our expert researchers (including online interviews) and literature research.

In this market report, the demand for recycled plastics indicates the quantity of recycled plastics  used in product manufacturing in designated industries, excluding export quantity.

The target products are made of (using) recycled plastics that are produced through mechanical recycling or chemical recycling (monomerization, decompose into oil), such as beverage containers (PET bottles only), food packaging (rigid plastics packaging made from polyethylene terephthalate [PET] and PS packaging trays only), automobiles, home appliances, pallets, and others (flexible food packaging, civil engineering materials, construction materials, agricultural materials, daily necessities/sundry goods, stationeries, etc.).

“Plastic Recycling Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2023”
(original Japanese version released on January 17, 2024; English version released on February 06, 2024)

<Products and Services in the Market>

Recycled plastics, plastic recycling

Published Report

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