May 7, 2019
As an effort for solving the marine plastic waste issues, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) formulated a roadmap as a compilation of major challenges in and measures for popularizing the development and introduction of marine biodegradable plastics,* an innovation-based initiative.
Recently, the world is facing the issue of marine pollution in the form of marine plastic waste. The G20 summit meeting hosted by Japan in June 2019 will focus on the marine plastic waste issue as one of its major subjects and will aim to establish an international framework that encourages member countries to take effective measures to combat the problem.
Moreover, in February 2019, Japan established an Inter-Ministerial Liaison Conference Responsible for Promotion of Measures against Marine Plastic Waste under the Cabinet Secretariat. In response, before the convening of the G20 summit meeting in June 2019, the conference will formulate an Action Plan for Taking Measures against Marine Plastic Waste (tentative title) as a compilation of specific efforts that the government of Japan should take.
As for its efforts, METI considers it most important to appropriately control waste materials, and based on this stance, it has been steadily promoting the 3R campaign of reuse, reduce and recycle. In addition, aiming to further address risks that waste may flow out to the sea even after taking certain measures, METI will encourage businesses to advance technical development of new materials and material alternatives to plastics. Through this effort, it will strive to contribute to the rest of the world’s efforts by solving the plastic waste issue using innovation.
2. Outline of the roadmap
As a specific effort for overcoming the plastic waste issue, METI formulated the Roadmap for Popularizing Development and Introduction of Marine Biodegradable Plastics. This is a compilation of expected major challenges in and measures for encouraging businesses to popularize the development and introduction of marine biodegradable plastics. It unites the efforts of the public and private sectors, focusing not only on technical but also economic and institutional challenges in providing direction for developing new technologies and materials that biodegrade in the marine environment.
Major sections of the roadmap:
- Implementation of technologies for commercializing such biodegradable plastics (improving the reliability of biodegradable performance by establishing ISO standards, cultivating new sources of demand, etc.)
- Improvement of composite materials based on technical development (cost cutting, improving workability of composite materials, etc.)
- Research and development of innovative materials (discovery of new microorganisms, adding new biodegradable performance control capability, etc.)
*Note: Marine biodegradable plastics are plastics that are degradable into water and carbon dioxide with the help of enzymes generated by microorganisms in the sea.
3. Announcement of materials
- Roadmap for Popularizing Development and Introduction of Marine Biodegradable Plastics (overview) (in Japanese)(PDF:1,057KB)
- Roadmap for Popularizing Development and Introduction of Marine Biodegradable Plastics (full text) (in Japanese)(PDF:1,884KB)
Division in Charge
- Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau
- Material Industries Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau
- Bio-Industry Division, Commerce and Service Industry Policy Group