Japan Partnership for Circular Economy

Japan Partnership for Circular Economy


Complete Material Recycling System for Disposable Diapers

[Company / organization] TOPPAN INC. TOTAL CARE SYSTEM Co. Sumitomo Heavy Industries Environment Co.,Ltd.

Constituent Members, their Roles, and Points of Cooperation

TOPPAN INC.: Process control and application development, use, and sales for optimal upcycling of recycled materials

TOTAL CARE SYSTEM Co., Ltd.: Provision of technology and knowhow for recycling used disposable diapers

Sumitomo Heavy Industries Environment Ltd.: Design and construction of plant for water-solubilization treatment facilities

Start Times (Planned)

2004 onward, Omuta Plant in operation

2024 onward, targeting the operation of new plants

Description of Technology and Business Model

Until now, disposable diapers composed of composite materials, such as plastic and pulp, have been regarded as unsuitable for recycling, and thus, after use, have been positioned as waste plastic and incinerated. Currently, pulp is recycled as a raw material for building materials, and plastic and SAPs are recycled as RPF (solid fuel). R&D has resulted in the development of technology for recycling plastic as raw materials for plastic products and using recyled SAPs for items such as pet litter sheets. We will develop a “Complete Material Recycling System” that recycles all constituent materials.

Track Record and Targets, etc.

In 2004, TOTAL CARE SYSTEM Co., Ltd. completed construction of its “Love Forest Omuta Plant” recycling plant at Omuta Eco Town in Fukuoka. Recycling of disposal diapers via water-solubilization treatment was commenced at the plant in 2005. This is the first disposable diaper recycling system built in Japan, and one of only a handful worldwide. The plant currently recycles over 5,000 tons of used disposable diapers discarded by medical institutions, welfare facilities, and general households in surrounding municipalities each year. Recycling rather than incinerating used disposable diapers can reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 37%.

The three companies have begun examining a business model for used disposable diaper recycling systems that can be introduced by a large number of local municipalities, and are targeting commercialization and use by such municipalities beginning in 2022.

URLs, etc. Introducing the Initiative

TOPPAN INC. press releases

https://www.toppan.co.jp/news/2020/newsrelease200407.html Japanese only

“Future Eyes,” a video introducing examples of initiatives by the Ministry of the Environment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIteuWYvRjA Japanese only