Plastic Resource Circulation

Related ESG :
A decarbonized and circular society
Affordable and Clean Energy Responsible Consumption and Production Climate Action

Basic approach

Plastic is an indispensable material for modern society, but it is also associated with issues such as the problem of waste, depletion of natural resources, and its impact on climate change. Against this background, the promotion of plastic resource circulation is becoming increasingly important. In Japan, April 1, 2022 saw the coming into effect of the Act on Promotion of Resource Circulation for Plastics, the aim of which is to realize a strengthening of comprehensive resource circulation systems in relation to the plastics that are used in so many different things in our daily lives.

Toyobo group has been actively engaged in developing products and technology that reduce the impact on the environment, to contribute to realizing the circular economy. With regard to plastic products, we are proceeding with greenification (i.e., utilization of biomass and recycled raw materials, and volume reduction) in order to make the materials that we provide sustainable.* Besides increasing the usage rate for biomass and recycled raw materials, we are also working on the commercialization of biomass plastic that maintains high functionality. Furthermore, when designing new products, we implement eco-conscious design, by reducing the amount of plastic used or using mono-material design. We are also working to re-use materials including offcuts in our production processes.

When developing and commercializing related technologies, we explore technologies from all over the world, and we proactively collaborate with external organizations and other companies.

Having adopted the slogan “Catalyzing Circular Economy,” Toyobo group is contributing toward the realization of the circular economy through a wide range of initiatives, and by fulfilling our responsibility to future generations, we are aiming to realize sustainable growth.

  • This excludes some products where safety or lifespan is an issue.


In April 2020, we established Renewable Resources Business Development Department in order to further accelerate our efforts related to plastic resource circulation and contribute to a sustainable society.

Renewable Resources Business Development Department is searching for technologies and collaborating with other companies to promote the conversion to biomass raw materials and the use of recycled raw materials.

We have drawn up a roadmap to 2030 — while also looking towards 2050 — based on government policies in Japan and overseas, as well industry targets for the environment. In collaboration with our partners worldwide, we aim to shift to biobased products focused on polyester resin, and to establish technologies related to mechanical and chemical recycling. Working closely with each Solutions Division, we will also adapt flexibly to changes in the business environment.

Ensuring the supply of renewable resources
Developing recycling-related technologies
Expanding business
Long-Term Vision

Long-Term Vision


In May 2022, Toyobo group announced its "Sustainable Vision 2030," which outlines its aspirations for the year 2030.

In this vision, we set a target of ratio of green materials in main business operation* for 60% in 2030.

  • Assumed to be film business


Toyobo Group's Initiatives in Relation to the Plastic Lifecycle and Resource Circulation

Toyobo Group's Initiatives in Relation to the Plastic Lifecycle and Resource Circulation

Biomass raw materials

It is anticipated that the use of biomass raw materials will reduce dependence on fossil fuel resources as a raw material for plastics, and help mitigate climate change through the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Toyobo group is switching over to and expanding the use of biomass raw materials and is working actively to develop new raw materials and materials.

Related technologies and products
  • Polyethylene Furanoate (PEF) resin (currently under development)
Collaborative projects and other joint initiatives
  • Partnership with Avantium N.V. to develop PEF resin
  • Partnership with Suntory Group and Anellotech, Inc. to develop PET resin that uses 100% plant-based raw material
  • Japan BioPlastics Association
  • Japan Plastics Industry Federation
Chemical recycling*1

We are one of the founders of R Plus Japan, Ltd., through which we are actively promoting the development of chemical recycling technology to produce high-quality recycled plastic by turning used plastic back into crude raw material.

Collaborative projects and other joint initiatives
  • R Plus Japan, Ltd.
  • Anellotech, Inc.
  • Japan Chemical Industry Association
Mechanical recycling*2

We are working actively to develop and sell products that contribute toward conserving resources through the use of recycled materials.
We have also developed TOYOBO GS Catalyst®, an innovative polyester polymerization catalyst that reduces PET degradation when PET material is used repeatedly in closed-loop recycling such as "bottle-to-bottle" recycling. Utilizing this technology, and with a main focus on PET, we are working to expand our presence in the global mechanical recycling technology and mechanical recycling materials markets.

Related technologies and products
  • Crisper®
  • TOYOBO GS Catalyst®
Collaborative projects and other joint initiatives
  • Licensing of technology to Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited
Eco-conscious design

Toyobo group is working to make its products more eco conscious.

  • Reducing the amount of raw material needed, by developing and commercializing thinner, lighter materials
  • Reducing the amount of packaging material used, by simplifying packaging
Mono-material solutions

Increasing recyclability by having products consist of just one type of plastic

Related technologies and products
  • Highly heat-resistant, high-rigidity biaxially oriented polypropylene (OPP) film
Recycling in production processes

We collect airbag material offcuts and film product offcuts, and re-use them as material for producing either the same type of product or different products. In this way, we are able to reduce the amount of waste generated by our production processes.

Related technologies and products
Collaborative projects and other joint initiatives
  • Resource circulation project
    (KAMISHINE® mold releasing film)
Responding to the issue of marine plastic waste and microplastics

With the aim of reducing the amount of marine plastic waste, Toyobo is participating in initiatives such as the Clean Ocean Material Alliance (CLOMA) established in Japan, and is undertaking the development and dissemination of substitute materials.

Collaborative projects and other joint initiatives
Chemical recycling:
This refers to chemically breaking down used plastic to turn it back into crude raw material that can be reused.
Mechanical recycling:
This refers to crushing and melting used plastic to generate raw resin, which is used as a material for recycled plastic.

Examples of initiatives

100% bio-based plastic as food packaging film Biomass raw materials

Our focus is on furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) as a biomass raw material. FDCA is polymerized using our proprietary technology to produce polyethylene furanoate (PEF), a high-performance polyester. PEF is a 100% biomass plastic with excellent gas barrier properties, and when formed into a film can help extend the shelf life of food contents, and thus reduce food losses. The world's first FDCA production plant is scheduled to be opened by Avantium in 2024. We plan to use this FDCA to produce PEF film.

Polymerization of 100% bio-based PET resin Biomass raw materials

In December 2021, Suntory Group and Anellotech, Inc. jointly developed a prototype PET bottle made from 100% plant-derived raw materials. Toyobo contributed to the development through its polymerization technology.

Development of the catalyst that can increase the recyclability of PET Mechanical recycling

TOYOBO GS Catalyst®, a polymerization catalyst developed by Toyobo, is the world's first aluminum catalyst that does not contain any heavy metals. PET degrades during repeated melting processes in recycling, but the PET obtained using this catalyst does not deteriorate when melted, making it well suited to recycling.

Toyobo has already licensed the technology to Thailand's Indorama Ventures Public Company Ltd., the world's largest PET resin manufacturer. Toyobo also participated in The Packaging Conference 2022, an international conference which held in America, and held exhibition and presentation. With the excellent recyclability of the produced PET resin, we will contribute to realize the circular economy in cooperation with Indorama.

TOYOBO GS Catalyst® (front) enables synthesis of resins with higher transparency than other catalysts

TOYOBO GS Catalyst® (front) enables synthesis of resins with higher transparency than other catalysts

PET bottles synthesized using TOYOBO GS Catalyst®

PET bottles synthesized using TOYOBO GS Catalyst®

Chemical recycling initiatives of R Plus Japan Chemical recycling

Anellotech's technological development has enabled a new technology to efficiently recycle a wide variety of used plastics. Following this, in June 2020 the joint venture company R Plus Japan, Ltd. was established by a group of 12 companies operating in Japan's plastics value chain, which includes Toyobo. As of August 2022, this number has grown to 40 companies, and together with Anellotech it is continuing with the development of new technologies.

So that we can contribute to solving the common worldwide problem of plastics, we aim to have this technology in practical use by 2030. To do this, we are collaborating with companies in a range of industries, including those in sorting and processing of collected plastics, distribution, and production of monomers, polymers, packaging and containers, and beverages.

Participating in initiatives

The Toyobo group is working closely with a variety of companies and organizations, and is active in a number of initiatives aimed at contributing to the construction of a plastics value chain that is appropriate to the era of the circular economy.

Japan BioPlastics Association

This group was established in 1989 with the aim of promoting the use of bioplastics,* and establishing a testing and evaluation system. An executive from Toyobo serves as the Vice Chairman, and we are active in the association's activities including participation in executive meetings and various committees.

  • Collective term for biodegradable and biomass plastics

Japan BioPlastics Association

CLOMA (Clean Ocean Material Alliance)

CLOMA is an organization established in Japan with the aim of increasing the effective use of marine plastic waste through reductions and recycling. Its members include more than 350 companies throughout the supply chain involved in the manufacturing, processing, and use of packaging and other materials. Toyobo has been a member of the alliance since it was established in 2019.

Through collaboration with other CLOMA members, which includes manufacturers, processors and users of packaging and other materials, we will work to develop and promote the use of alternative materials.


J4CE (Japan Partnership for Circular Economy)

This partnership was founded for the purpose of strengthening public and private partnerships, with the aim of further fostering understanding of the circular economy among a wide range of stakeholders, including domestic companies, and promoting initiatives in response to the accelerating global trend toward a circular economy. We participated in J4CE in September 2022.


CEFLEX (Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging)

In August 2019, Toyobo group joined the European consortium Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging (CEFLEX). Established in 2017, CEFLEX is a consortium that promotes the realization of a circular economy through the use of flexible packaging. This includes more than 130 companies and organizations involved in the flexible packaging value chain, including leading materials manufacturers and recycling companies. Its goals include establishing by 2025 a Europe-wide collection, sorting, and reprocessing infrastructure for used flexible packaging. While understanding the latest information and trends regarding recovery systems and regulations, we will focus on developing and supplying eco-friendly technologies and products to contribute to the realization of a circular economy.


Petcore Europe

Petcore Europe is a consortium of more than 80 companies and organizations spanning the entire value chain of European PET-related companies. The Toyobo group joined Petcore Europe in January 2020. We will take this opportunity of participating in Petcore Europe to further focus on the development and provision of sustainable PET products and technologies, and work towards contributing to the realization of a circular economy that is friendly to people and the earth.

Petcore Europe