Mitsui Chemical starts new material recycling facility for flexible packaging in Nagoya, Japan; facility removes ink from printed films, pelletizes the waste and processes it back into flexible packaging film

Sample article from our Chemicals Industry

May 26, 2022 (press release) –

Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (Tokyo: 4183; President & CEO: HASHIMOTO Osamu) today announced that its new material recycling facility for flexible packaging has gone online at Nagoya Works. The facility removes ink from printed film, enabling it to be reused as flexible packaging film.

Mitsui Chemicals regards plastic and other waste as a key resource that can assist in achieving a circular economy. Accordingly, the company has introduced the RePLAYER® Renewable Plastics Layer System to trial the material recycling of flexible packaging as part of its RePLAYER® initiative to promote the reuse of materials. Under the system, Mitsui Chemicals will recover both printed and unprinted film waste from converters, remove the ink and then pelletize the waste before turning it back into flexible packaging film. Mitsui Chemicals intends with the startup of this facility to step up its development of recycled materials technologies suited to flexible packaging films. The company plans to further expand the collection of film waste and begin providing samples of recycled materials before the end of the current fiscal year.

Working in partnership with the converters providing film waste and customers who will use the horizontally recycled flexible packaging film, Mitsui Chemicals will promote initiatives aimed at the social implementation of this mechanism.

Mitsui Chemicals’ Strengths

  1. The Mitsui Chemicals Group’s knowledge extends to the manufacturing, processing and evaluation of polyolefin resins.
  2. Affiliate Mitsui Chemicals Tohcello, Inc. has polyolefin film manufacturing technology and facilities, enabling the two companies to jointly trial the horizontal recycling of flexible packaging film.
  3. Mitsui Chemicals has collaborative relationships with a wide range of converters, resin processing manufacturers and recyclers.

Future Challenges

  1. As some inks used on packaging materials cannot easily be removed with existing technologies, Mitsui Chemicals plans to tap into its proprietary technologies to develop the optimal detergents.
  2. At this point, there is no official mechanism for guaranteeing the safety of horizontally recycled films for use as food packaging. We will cooperate in the development of a new mechanism in consultation with relevant government ministries and agencies.

Mitsui Chemicals Group’s RePLAYER® Recycling Initiative
Seeing climate change and the problems posed by plastic as part of the same challenge, Mitsui Chemicals aims to achieve carbon neutrality and create a circular economy to ensure that it can continue contributing to society as a chemical company. The company is enhancing its range of biomass-based products and developing recycling technologies and systems with this goal in mind. In pursuit of the prompt social implementation of recycling, Mitsui Chemicals intends to take part in collaborative initiatives with other companies that possess outstanding technologies in the fields of both material and chemical recycling.

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Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

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