Major Japanese chemical firm to make products from plastic waste

A major Japanese chemical firm is planning to use waste plastic as a raw material, instead of crude oil-based material, to produce its chemical products.

Mitsubishi Chemical plans to build a plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo, by the end of March in an effort to promote de-carbonization.

Under the project to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the firm will work with petroleum wholesaler Eneos to recycle 20,000 tons of waste plastic into oil annually.

Kato Hiroo, a Mitsubishi Chemical official in Ibaraki, admits the investment for the project will incur a greater financial burden, but says the firm wants to give its products more value.

The firm's competitors, Sumitomo Chemical, Mitsui Chemicals and Maruzen Petrochemical, are also considering steps to curb CO2 emissions.

These would include using raw materials made from biomass at their plants in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo.

Observers say the chemical industry may have to undergo restructuring in the future as the worldwide trend of de-carbonization forces firms to revamp their production facilities.