Sumitomo Chemical Co. (Tokyo, Japan) announced that it will introduce a pilot-scale mechanical waste processing facility in an effort to develop a material recycling business using waste plastics collected from end-of-life automobiles. The Company will start providing samples of recycled plastic material to customers in fiscal 2023 and accelerate its efforts to commercially produce recycled plastics for automotive applications.
In Japan, approximately 3 million automobiles are dismantled annually for disposal and recycling. It is particularly difficult to separate plastic components such as bumpers and interior parts and remove foreign matter from them after dismantling, which poses a major challenge to material recycling. In Europe, recycling of plastic automotive components is accelerating as a number of automakers adopt parts using recycled materials for new models, setting target recycling rates. Similar movements are expected to spread in Japan.
Against this backdrop, Sumitomo Chemical has decided to establish a new process to manufacture polypropylene compounds using waste plastics collected from end-of-life automobiles by utilizing the plastic manufacturing technology it has cultivated over many years. As part of this effort, the Company will introduce a pilot-scale mechanical waste processing facility that performs an integrated process of high-precision sorting and removal of foreign matter according to the type and characteristics of waste plastics, and will work to develop a commercial production process for high-quality recycled plastics for use in automobiles.
Since June 2021, Sumitomo Chemical has been studying a business alliance with Rever Holdings Corporation, a subsidiary of TRE Holdings Corporation, which engages in a wide range of environmental businesses, with the aim of developing material recycling businesses. To date, the two companies have been working on optimization of the integrated waste plastics sorting process and environmental impact assessments. In the process development effort announced today, Sumitomo Chemical will use waste plastics provided by Rever. Going forward, Sumitomo Chemical will further deepen its cooperation with companies engaged in plastic resource recycling to help achieve a circular economy.