Japan’s culture is integrally tied to packaging. Any foreign visitor to Japan will be aware of this. Even the most basic products require careful wrapping. This is both a gesture and quality assurance. Individually wrapped products are beautiful visually, but they can be a sustainability nightmare.
Japan’s leading paper producers have taken notice and created innovative ways to eliminate plastic waste and take a more environmentally-friendly route in shipping and packing.
Nippon Paper Industries’ subsidiary has created a waterproof cardboard container that can be used as an alternative to polystyrene boxes. According to the manufacturing giant, the box can keep water from leaking for as long as three weeks. It is already being used by food processing companies to transport fish, but there are other possible uses, such as fashion.
Nippon Tokai Industrial Paper Supply’s president stated that they see opportunities in the wider push for sustainable products and plan to make a lot of effort to tap into these social trends.
Daio Paper Corporation is another innovator. They aim to replace plastic hooks and hangers with high-strength, paper versions. According to the company, it is committed to reducing waste materials and conserving natural resources. It uses a filler recycling technique that it has put to good use. The company recycles pulp and paper produced during the production process, which is used in cement, construction, and land reclamation.
A climate change laggard
According to Climate Action Tracker (CAT), Japan is lagging behind other countries in climate change. The CAT rates Japan’s climate goals, policies, and finance as “Insufficient”, which is a rating that indicates Japan’s climate policies need significant improvements to meet the 1.5 deg C temperature limit set by the Paris Agreement.