Toyo Ink and Itochu partnership targets multilayer packaging
Photo courtesy of Toyo Ink

Toyo Ink and Itochu partnership targets multilayer packaging

The companies say they will open a recycling pilot plant in Japan this year.

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Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co. Ltd., the Tokyo-based parent company of the specialty chemicals manufacturing conglomerate Toyo Ink Group, and Itochu Corp., a global trading house headquartered in Toyko, say they have entered into a cooperative agreement that targets the recovery and reuse of multilayer film packaging materials. The companies seek to achieve a plastic recycling rate of more than 40 percent in Japan and abroad, an increase from Japan’s current rate of 27 percent.

toyo ink recycling process
Photo courtesy of Toyo Ink
A deinking coating agent and a delaminating adhesive are applied to the plastic film surrounding the ink layers to aid in recycling

In 2019, Toyo Ink, in cooperation with a leading environmental solutions provider, developed a plastic recovery technology for multilayered flexible packaging, where a deinking coating agent and a delaminating adhesive are applied to the plastic film surrounding the ink layers. After use, the packaging material is subjected to an alkaline treatment in which the coating agent, adhesive and interlaying ink layers are cleanly released from the film substrate, according to the company. This results in the recovery of high-quality plastic material that can then be reused to create new products. A pilot plant based on this plastic recovery process is being built in Japan and is set to become operational later this year.

Under the agreement, Itochu will encourage retailers and brand owners to develop packaging structures that use this recycling technology. In addition, the company will acquire exclusive marketing rights in Japan and preferential negotiation rights in Asia and Europe related to major product materials related to this recycling technology, a news release about the partnership states.

“We are delighted to partner with Itochu in this ambitious project,” says Shiina Harako, project manager, Marketing Division, at Toyo Ink. “The Itochu Group brings to the table a whole host of major players in the global packaging value chain who share our vision of creating a recycling-oriented society. Through this partnership, we hope to carve a clear path to realizing a circular economy for postindustrial plastic waste in Japan and elsewhere. This initiative is also a major step in Toyo Ink's strategic plan to start a postindustrial recycling business in 2022 and a postconsumer recycling business in commercial plants by 2025.”