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Japan-Oriented International Standards for Green Building Materials Issued Japan's efforts to win overseas markets

Japan submitted a proposal to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for the establishment of new international standards for environmental specifications of wood-plastic recycled composites (WPRC) as green building materials, which contribute to the realization of a resource-recycling society. In response, the ISO issued new such standards for the specifications based on Japan’s proposal. This issuance is expected to encourage international markets to appropriately evaluate Japanese products with outstanding environmental performance and to further disseminate and expand such products.

1. Background

WPRC are a group of building materials developed to realize a sustainable, environmental-friendly resource-recycling society. They are mainly made of waste-derived woody raw materials, such as waste generated in dismantling houses and buildings, and plastic raw materials, such as materials recycled from packages and packing materials. In manufacturing finished products made of WPRC, these raw materials are melted, mixed and molded into desired shapes. As WPRC not only have high environmental performance and but also are materials advantageously equipped with characteristics of both wood and plastics, they can be applied to a variety of fields, as demonstrated by such uses as pedestrian decks in commercial and public facilities and louvers on the walls of buildings.

Reference 1: Conceptual picture of a recycling system for manufacturing WPRC

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Reference 2: Examples of WPRC applications (deck and louver)

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Source: Website of the WPRC Subcommittee, Japan Construction Material & Housing Equipment Industries Federation Organization (J-CHIF)

2. Outline of the international standards

Key points of the newly issued standards (ISO 20819: wood-plastic recycled composites (WPRC) - specification) are as follows.

  • The standards stipulate the definition of WPRC, the types and proportions of raw materials to be used for WPRC, and basic characteristics required for WPRC.
  • Specifically, the standards define WPRC as those containing recycled materials as raw materials forming at least 40% of the total composite mass. In addition, they stipulate, as the basic characteristics, the safe amount of volatile substance (formaldehyde) release and that of hazardous material elution.
  • They require businesses to confirm if raw materials are virgin materials or recycled materials when they receive them in order to prove the quality of such materials.

To submit a proposal to ISO, Japan established a domestic committee under J-CHIF consisting of expert members from WPRC manufacturers, universities, test and research institutes and other organizations, advanced a preparation of a draft proposal on the basis of the domestic standards of JIS A5741 (wood-plastic recycled composite), and in May 2015 submitted a proposal to ISO / TC61 (plastics) / SC11 (products). Following the submission, SC11 held repeated discussions and coordination with experts from other member countries. As a result, in March 2018, the ISO officially issued new international standards based on Japan’s proposal.

3. Expected effects

The issuance of the new standards is expected to contribute to encouraging international markets to appropriately evaluate Japanese products with outstanding environmental performance and to further disseminate and expand such products. In addition, it will contribute to achieving Goal 12 (ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns; dramatic reduction of waste generation through reuse) of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Japan will proactively strive, as a leader, to engage in activities for developing new standards, such as those for high solar reflective paint with energy saving effects and water-saving, warm-water bidet, and also to disseminate the newly issued international standards across ASEAN economies, such as Viet Nam and Indonesia, where dramatic growth is seen in markets for quality green building materials and related facility products.

Note: This successful international standardization is partly due to the achievements under the Project for International Standardization and Dissemination Platform for Green Building Materials and Related Facility Products, commissioned to J-CHIF by METI.

Release date

April 3, 2018

Division in Charge

International Standardization Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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