Resource Recycling and Sustainable Development of Plastics
The impact of the coronavirus has significantly affected not only plastic industries and processing manufacturers, but also various consumers. However, Europe is shifting to a With Corona lifestyle, out of concern for economic stagnation. Our country has also moved away from restriction of behavior to individual self-discretion. We are beginning to accept tourists as well as business exchanges from other countries. We are also allowed to travel abroad, and we too have begun our social activities into the world of With Corona. As these restrictions are being eased, the plastic molding and processing industry is also being reassessed, and a return to domestic production from overseas production is being discussed. The prospects are also uncertain due to the worldwide shortage of raw materials and stagnation of economic activities following Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The key issue will be to improve production capacity in Japan.
One of the various policies for plastics, the Law for Promotion of Plastic Resource Recycling, went into effect on April 1, 2022. Resource recycling or circular economy is the process of extracting resources from waste and recycling these materials. It also means an economy in which resources are reused instead of waste. The Law for Promotion of Resources Recycling of Plastics is a law to promote efforts to recycle plastic resources from product design to waste disposal. It is essential for future plastic manufacturing to consider and be aware of resource recycling. It is required to reduce, reuse, and rationalize (recycle) the use of plastics, and to appropriately switch to recycled materials and renewable resources (e.g., biomass plastics) from the viewpoint of renewable resources. In the plastics industry, it is necessary to transform tacit know-how into formal knowledge. It is required to transform the technical know-how into databases, and to change to efficient manufacturing by using AI technology and computer simulations.
Plastics have made our daily lives convenient, and there is no doubt that they will continue to be indispensable in our lives in the future. For sustainable development, we would like to convey the importance of plastics to the next generation of engineers and researchers, and to inform them of the environmental issues that are a challenge, recycling technologies, new renewable resource plastics, and their “manufacturing” technologies.
SPE Japan Chapter will continue to provide topics on the latest and most advanced technologies and basic research in the field of plastics through lectures and tours on research and technologies in line with the times and will be steadily working toward mutual study and realization of breakthroughs for members under a strong member network. We look forward to the participation of many engineers involved in this field in the SPE Japan Chapter.
Dr.Hiroshi Ito (Yamagata University)