Feb. 26, 2021

Sumitomo Corporation Begins Collaboration with Amica Terra with the Aim of Building a Recycling-Oriented Society

Sumitomo Corporation has invested in Amica Terra, a company that manufactures 100% plant-derived plastic alternative materials. Going forward, as a distributor of the company's products, we will promote sales and manufacturing in Japan and overseas with the aim of building a recycling-oriented society.

Problems with plastics that must be addressed

According to a United Nations announcement made in 2019, more than eight million tons of plastic waste flow into our seas every year. Since plastics do not decompose in the natural world, marine pollution caused by plastic waste has become increasingly serious in recent years, and is having major impacts on marine ecosystems, fisheries, tourism and other areas. As moves to wean ourselves off our dependence on plastics accelerate around the world (such as moves to reduce plastic production and consumption and, where this is unavoidable, to make recycling a prerequisite), many countries and companies are working to reduce the amount of single-use plastic products. Examples include replacing plastic straws with paper straws and charging for plastic shopping bags.

100% plant-derived plastic alternative material "Plant Fiber Ceramic®"

Amica Terra possesses technology for manufacturing "Plant Fiber Ceramic®" (PFC), a plastic alternative material, and manufactures PFC material pellets while selling molded products such as straws and containers. PFC material pellets are made by drying and powdering plant matter and mixing it with starch and plant-derived resin additives. Their three key features are:

  1. They are biodegradable* because they are 100% plant-derived.
  2. They can be processed using existing plastic product manufacturing equipment.
  3. They can be made using plant residues, which until now have otherwise been discarded, as raw materials.

Amica Terra will be opening its first factory in Japan in Mashikimachi, Kumamoto, and will begin manufacturing PFC this June from bamboo and other materials collected from bamboo groves in the prefecture.

Collaboration with Sumitomo Corporation will expand possibilities

As a distributor of Amica Terra, we will utilize the integrated corporate strength of our group of companies to introduce PFC and PFC-based products to plastic processing manufacturers, the food service industry, food manufacturers and other leads to expand sales, develop applications and, through collaboration, create new business models that address our environmental issues. We will also contribute to the growth of Amica Terra's business by providing support for conducting performance evaluation tests and acquiring certification for PFC.

As we work to enhance our sustainability management, we have identified six key social issues that we address. One of these issues, the "Circular economy," defines its aim as shifting to recyclable, efficient technologies and products. Positioning our collaboration with Amica Terra as an operation that will help build a circular economy, we will drive efforts to reduce environmental impacts and realize sustainable societies.

* Biodegradation: The property of a substance whereby it decomposes to the molecular level through the action of microorganisms and the like, and ultimately returns to water and carbon dioxide and resumes circulating in the natural world.

Amica Terra's PFC material pellets, and tableware and straws made from PFC materials