“The establishment of R Plus Japan is a significant step toward achieving a circular economy. While Suntory is committed to achieving fully sustainable plastic in our PET bottles used globally by 2030, we are also determined to find long-lasting solutions for sustainable use of materials in other sources of plastic packaging,” says Tak Niinami, Chief Executive Officer of Suntory Holdings. “We know that our efforts will be stronger if we work together, so Suntory took the initiative to establish R Plus Japan in partnership with various committed organizations across the supply chain. This cross-industry collaboration builds on Suntory’s Yatte Minahare spirit, the spirit of bold ambition, to tackle the complex global issue of single-use plastics.”
In 2019, the Suntory Group established the “Suntory Group Plastic Policy”(https://www.suntory.com/news/article/13473E.html) to promote sustainability globally and further its corporate philosophy, “To create harmony with people and nature,” as part of its promise to stakeholders, “Mizu To Ikiru”, or living with water. According to this Plastic Policy, Suntory Group will aim for 100% sustainable plastic bottles used globally by 2030, by transitioning to recycled materials or plant-based materials in all PET bottles, thus achieving zero use of virgin petroleum-based materials.
Suntory began collaborating with Anellotech, a US-based sustainable technology company, in 2012. The partnership enabled the joint development of key components needed to make 100% plant-based PET bottles. As the scientific foundation for the R Plus Japan initiative in plastics chemical recycling, Anellotech is leveraging and adapting its process technology for Plas-TCatTM, which will convert mixed plastic waste into basic chemicals to make new plastics, and has demonstrated encouraging results in lab studies.
“We believe this initiative by Anellotech and R Plus Japan, combining enabling Plas-TCat chemical recycling technology with the concerted efforts of committed supply chain players, illustrates the best model to aggregate and apply the required resources in amelioration of the problem of plastic waste,” says Anellotech CEO David Sudolsky. “Plas-TCat’s unique ability to directly produce basic chemicals (used today to make most virgin plastics) from mixed plastics waste, at large scale, represents an economically viable and impactful solution to the plastic waste problem. We are excited by the opportunities ahead and look forward to collaboration with our long-term partner Suntory and R Plus Japan in tackling this challenge.”
About the recycling technology of used plastic
Many plastic packaging materials are unable to be recycled and are instead thrown away after a single use, often landfilled, incinerated , or littered. Unlike the existing multi-step processes which first liquefies plastic waste back into low value “synthetic oil” intermediate products, Anellotech’s Plas-TCat chemical recycling technology uses a one-step thermal-catalytic process. This 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.
“The significance of chemical recycling is its ability to transform and convert plastic waste into its original chemical components, to eventually produce new plastics. Turning used plastic into secondary, raw materials enables the sustainable use of resources for various industries across the plastics supply chain,” said Tsunehiko Yokoi, Chief Executive Officer of R Plus Japan and Executive Officer of SME. “Through the development of this innovative technology, we hope to contribute to solving the global plastic waste issue, which has long been a challenge due to its difficulties in recycling. We’re very excited to work with our industry partners to move this important work forward.”
With the engagement of various industries throughout the supply chain, from raw materials manufacturers, and packaging suppliers to beverages companies, the newly established R Plus Japan, together with Anellotech, will advance the development and commercialization of this eco-efficient plastic recycling technology by 2027.
Company name: R Plus Japan, Ltd.
Date of commencement of business: June 2020
Headquarters: 2-3-3, Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Representative: Tsunehiko Yokoi (President & CEO)
Business: Expanding development of recycling technology for used plastics
Founded in 2008, Anellotech (http://www.anellotech.com) is a sustainable technology company focused on commercializing the innovative production of cost-competitive renewable chemicals and fuels from non-food biomass or waste plastics. Its patented Bio-TCat™ technology is an efficient thermal catalytic process for converting biomass into benzene, toluene and xylene, which are chemically identical to their petroleum-based counterparts. The process has been extensively demonstrated with loblolly pine feedstocks at Anellotech’s TCat-8® pilot plant in Silsbee, Texas. Engineering work to design the first commercial plant is underway by Anellotech and its R&D, engineering and licensing partners IFPEN and Axens.
The Bio-TCat™ platform is now being leveraged for Plas-TCat™, a development-stage process technology aiming to convert mixed waste plastics into commodity chemicals such as olefins and aromatics, the primary chemicals used to make plastic packaging and other products.
About Suntory Group
As a global leader in both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages industry, Suntory Group offers a uniquely diverse portfolio of products from premium spirits, beer and wine to brewed teas, bottled water, carbonated soft drinks, ready-to-drink coffee and energy drinks, along with health and wellness products. Suntory is home to award-winning Japanese whiskies Yamazaki, Hibiki and Hakushu as well as iconic American spirits Jim Beam and Maker's Mark. We also fascinate the taste buds in Japan and the Asian market with our Premium Malt's beer. Our brand collection also includes non-alcoholic favorites Orangina, Lucozade, Ribena, BOSS coffee, Iyemon green tea, and Suntory Tennensui water.
Founded as a family-owned business in 1899 in Osaka, Japan, Suntory Group has grown into a global company operating throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania with an annual revenue (excluding excise taxes) of $21.0 billion in 2019. We are driven by Yatte Minahare - the spirit of bold ambition - and our 40,210 employees worldwide draw upon our unique blend of Japanese artisanship and global tastes to explore new product categories and markets.
As a company that delivers blessings of water and nature to our customers, we are committed to our mission to create harmony with people and nature. Always aspiring to grow for good, we are devoted to giving back to society through protecting water resources, nurturing our communities and fostering the arts.