Greater demand for paper packaging in Japan as awareness of plastic pollution spreads

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

There is a greater demand for paper packaging as awareness of plastic waste grows, claims Nippon Paper Group. ©Getty Images
There is a greater demand for paper packaging as awareness of plastic waste grows, claims Nippon Paper Group. ©Getty Images

Related tags Plastic Paper Packaging

Higher awareness of plastic pollution is increasing the demand for paper packaging in Japan’s food and beverage sector, but cost remains a key concern for manufacturers.

One company that has witnessed a growth in demand for paper packaging is Japanese firm Nippon paper group.

“Since the news of the micro-plastic pollution in the ocean was circulated, the demand for paper packaging, we feel, is getting stronger,”​ Tomoaki Cho, general manager of the Paperising Promotion Office and the Sales Planning Department of Nippon Paper Industries said in response to FoodNavigator-Asia’s​ queries.

Packaging cartons for milk and juice are the most popular products in their company, Cho said.

“The demand for reusable products and biodegradable materials has been increasing around the world, since marine pollution caused by disposable plastic products has been highlighted,” ​he said.

“Paper is expected to be one of the solutions.”

The company has previously launched paper packaging products such as milk cartons, paper cups and food wrapping papers in the food and beverage industries under the brand. It also launched a paper packaging product as an alternative to plastic packaging material.

Paper Vs plastics

Cho said that the demand of paper packaging would depend on its cost as compared to plastic packaging.

“Whether the demand will grow in the future, however, depends on performance and cost of paper packaging compared with plastic packaging,​he said.

To combat plastic pollution, food and beverage firms have sought to reduce the use of plastic packaging by researching for alternative packaging materials.

For instance, Suntory has started to develop bio-based bottles​ with its technology partner, Anellotech. The latter recently announced that it has successfully produced a collection of renewable chemicals identical to fossil-based counterparts.

The Japan government also began discussions on plastic reduction measures in August.

The subcommittee of the Central Environment Council aimed to draw up a draft strategy including numerical goals by the end of this year, the Japan Times reported.

The panel will study how to efficiently recover and recycle disposable plastic items, promote bioplastics that are derived from biomass sources and easily decomposable in nature, and help developing countries tackle the issue.

Paperising unit

To reduce the use of plastic packaging, Nippon Paper Group has started a “paperising”​ promotion office to streamline operation.

The unit started its operation on August 1.

“We have started the Paperising Promotion Office, because we felt that collecting market information and disseminating our solutions are better controlled by one integrated team, even though sales of each products are still dealt with existing sales sections,” ​Cho said. 

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