Kao Corporation and Lion Corporation have succeeded in creating the first product making partial use of recycled materials to produce the same type of packaging through recycling of used refill packs. In September 2020, the two companies announced that they would partner to work toward social implementation of film packaging recycling to create a circular economy for plastic packaging and have been spearheading recycling of film packaging used in refill packs. Refill packs (1,620g) of Kao’s Attack ZERO, a concentrated liquid clothing detergent, and Lion’s highly concentrated laundry detergent Top Super Nanox for Odors XXL refill pack using the newly-developed recycled material will go on sale in limited quantities at selected stores*1, with gradual introduction starting on May 29, 2023.
*1 Some Ito-Yokado and Welcia Pharmacy stores will carry both products. Some Aeon stores will carry the Kao product only.
News Releases from September 2020
Kao: Working Toward Resource Circulation for Plastic Packaging Kao and Lion Begin Collaboration on RecyCreation Activities
Lion: Working Toward Resource Circulation for Plastic Packaging Kao and Lion Begin Collaboration on RecyCreation Activities
Film packaging for refill packs, which consists of several thin layers of different materials, is designed to protect detergent, shampoo and other products from temperature, humidity and UV rays. Recycling these different materials has been problematic so far, however, as the recycled film is of uneven quality and holes or other imperfections can appear during the manufacturing process. In June 2021, Kao set up a pilot plant at its Wakayama Research Laboratories to work on developing and testing recycling of its film packaging. Having developed recycling technology for refill packs, the company succeeded in commercializing refill packaging using recycled material. The recycled material forms one of the middle layers of the packaging.
The new packaging contains 10% recycled material, some of which came from refill packs collected by Kao through municipalities and also through field testing collaboration with Lion, where refill packs were collected from the general merchandise supermarket Ito-Yokado’s Hikifune store and Welcia Pharmacy stores. The used refill packs collected accounted for around 1% of the total material used, while the remaining 9% came from refill packs manufactured but ultimately unused.
News Release from May 2022
News Releases from November 2020
News Releases from November 2021
Kao: Kao and Lion, with Welcia Yakkyoku and Hamakyorex, Begin Field Testing for Recycling of Used Refill Film Packaging
Lion: Kao and Lion, with Welcia Yakkyoku and Hamakyorex, Begin Field Testing for Recycling of Used Refill Film Packaging
In the Japanese consumer products market, Kao, Lion and other manufacturers have been reducing the amount of plastic used for packaging since the 1990s. Major reductions in plastic use have been achieved by making products more highly concentrated to reduce package size, and by developing and promoting the use of refill and replacement products. In 2021, refill and replacement products accounted for around 80% of total product shipment volumes*2. Recycling of refill packaging, however, had been difficult until now because the film materials used in the packaging are mainly made of composite materials incorporating many different ingredients, which when recycled produced film of uneven quality due to the wide variety of different components. In addition, there was no established sorting and collection system for plastics used for personal and home care products, and consumers were not sufficiently informed of the need to recycle plastics.
Against this background, the two companies announced in September 2020 that they would collaborate toward introducing a circular economy for plastic packaging by recycling film packaging used for refill packs for detergent, shampoo and other products. As part of RecyCreation*3, the companies have been studying film-to-film recycling to enable future social implementation of film packaging recycling and conducting the following four activities.
*3 RecyCreation is a term coined by Kao to denote upcycling through which more enjoyable and improved products are developed and resulting in new value creation, rather than recycling materials for the purpose of reproducing the same types of materials. The concept of this initiative is “Throwing it away after use. We want to change this common practice.”
Kao creates high-value-added products and services that provide care and enrichment for the life of all people and the planet. Through its portfolio of over 20 leading brands such as Attack, Bioré, Goldwell, Jergens, John Frieda, Kanebo, Laurier, Merries, and Molton Brown, Kao is part of the everyday lives of people in Asia, Oceania, North America, and Europe. Combined with its chemical business, which contributes to a wide range of industries, Kao generates about 1,550 billion yen in annual sales. Kao employs about 35,400 people worldwide and has 136 years of history in innovation. Please visit the Kao Group website for updated information.
|Representative||Masayuki Takemori, Representative Director, President and Executive Officer|
|Address||1-3-28 Kuramae, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-8644, Japan|
|Established||September 1918 (founded October 30, 1891)|
|Net Sales (consolidated)||389.8 billion yen (term ended December 2022)|
|No. of employees (consolidated)||7,587 (as of December 31, 2022)|
|Business description||The manufacture and sale of toothpastes, toothbrushes, soaps, detergents, hair- and skin-care products, cooking-related products and pharmaceuticals. Exports to overseas affiliates.|