Kao First Approved for Plastic Packaging Collection in Japan

In March 2024, Kao Corporation and its subsidiary, Kao Transport and Logistics Company Limited, achieved a significant milestone with the approval from both the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment. This approval pertains to the voluntary collection of plastic packaging, marking a groundbreaking initiative for manufacturers and retailers alike. This endorsement underscores their commitment to sustainable practices and aligns with the Plastic Resource Circulation Act, effective since April 1, 2022.

With this approval, Kao and its logistics arm, Kao Logistics, are empowered to collect used refill packs within the Kao Group premises and in Kamakura City without the need for additional service permissions as mandated by the Waste Management Act. Currently, in Japan, household plastic packaging is typically treated as general waste, subject to municipal regulations. However, there are designated methods for its processing, primarily thermal recycling or incineration, and recycling in accordance with the Act on the Promotion of Sorted Collection and Recycling of Containers and Packaging.

The Plastic Resource Circulation Act introduces a paradigm shift by encouraging voluntary collection efforts from manufacturers and retailers. By obtaining this approval, Kao can bypass certain bureaucratic hurdles, streamlining the process of collecting and recycling plastic packaging.

Under Kao’s approved plan, the focus lies on collecting used refill packs at Kao Group sites and in Kamakura City. These packs, initially treated as valuables in certain regions, will now also be collected as waste. The collected materials are slated for recycling at a dedicated pilot plant situated at the Kao Wakayama Research Laboratories. Moreover, Kao leverages its existing delivery and pick-up routes, thereby minimizing transportation costs and environmental footprint.

This approved plan holds promise for replication in other regions with similar collection patterns, facilitating its rapid expansion. In addition to its current initiatives, Kao aims to present this model as a viable blueprint for local governments and companies, fostering collaborative efforts towards increased recycling endeavors.

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