Japan Partnership for Circular Economy

Japan Partnership for Circular Economy


Development and Practical Implementation of Used Plastic Recycling Technology by R Plus Japan, a Cross-Industry Joint Venture Company

[Company / organization] R Plus Japan Suntory Holdings Limited

Background to the establishment of the organization, constituent members, their roles, and reason for cooperation


In accordance with the Suntory Group's Plastic Policy, Suntory MONOZUKURI Expert has been working with Anellotech, a US biochemical venture company, on the joint development of PET bottles made from 100% plant-derived materials. In this process, we discovered new possibilities for developing an efficient recycling technology for used plastics with low environmental impact. This Anellotech’s technology is one of the most unique, ground-breaking technologies in the world, which can be expected to recycle plastics with less CO2 emissions and energy consumption than ever before. Believing that the establishment of this technology will contribute to the recycling of used plastics, Suntory MONOZUKURI Expert called for the participation of companies within the plastics value chain. In June 2020, 12 companies (see below) established a joint venture company, R Plus Japan.

<Member partners, their roles, and reason for cooperation>>

As of May 2021, 25 companies have invested in the company. In order to contribute to the resolution of plastic issues that have become common throughout the world, companies are participating from various industries throughout the value chain, from raw materials manufacturers, and packaging suppliers, to beverages companies.

・Participating companies at the time of establishment:

Suntory Holdings Ltd., TOYOBO Co. Ltd., Rengo Co. Ltd., Toyo Seikan Group Holdings Ltd., J&T Recycling Corporation, Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., Iwatani Corporation, Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd., Toppan Printing Co. Ltd., Fuji Seal International Inc., Hokkaican Co. Ltd., and Yoshino Kogyosho Co. Ltd.

・Participating companies since establishment:

APLIS Corporation, SAKATA INX CORPORATION, CP CHEMICAL INCORPORATED, Toyo Ink SC Holdings CO. Ltd., The Nisshin OilliO Group Ltd., Nihon Yamamura Glass Co. Ltd, MITSUBISHI GAS CHEMICAL COMPANY INC., LINTEC Corporation, Calbee Inc., Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd., Sanyu Plant Service Co. Ltd, MITSUI CHEMICALS INC., RISUPACK CORPORATION

Time started (or to be started)

Commercialization of the recycling technology is planned for 2027.

Technology and business model

Many plastic packaging materials are unable to be recycled and are instead thrown away after a single use, often landfilled, incinerated*1, or littered. Unlike the existing multi-step processes which first liquefies plastic waste back into low value “synthetic oil” intermediate products, Anellotech’s chemical recycling*2 technology uses a one-step thermal-catalytic process. The process converts single-use plastics directly into basic chemicals such as benzene, toluene, xylenes (BTX), ethylene, and propylene, which can then be used to make new plastics. The technology’s process efficiency has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption. Once utilized across the industry, this technology will be able to more efficiently recycle single-use plastic, one of the world’s most urgent challenges.

*1 Including thermal energy recovery

*2 Chemical recycling is a process by which a polymer is chemically reduced to basic chemicals so that it can eventually be processed and remade into new plastic materials that go on to become new plastic products

Achievements and goals

At the time of its establishment, 12 companies participated in the company, but now 25 companies have invested and there are frequent requests to participate, so there are high expectations for the company’s effort and its technology. The goal is to utilize this recycling technology across industries by all participating companies that make up the plastics value chain by 2027, and contribute to solving the global plastic waste issue, which has long been a challenge due to its difficulties in recycling.

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