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Alliance to End Plastic Waste Launches First Projects in Japan to Drive Plastic Circularity
November 24, 2022

Japanese startups Kaman and RECOTECH picked as partners

Tokyo, Japan, November 24, 2022—The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance) today announced that it will provide seed funding and technical expertise to help local startups, Kaman Inc. and RECOTECH Inc. expand their operations. In addition, Alliance founding members Mitsui Chemicals and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, are partnering Kaman and RECOTECH, respectively, to further accelerate their development. These represent the Alliance’s first on ground projects in Japan since the global non-profit organisation was founded in 2019.

The Megloo project, developed by Kaman, provides a reusable container sharing service which aims to reduce take-out container waste. The startup plans to roll out the service to several cities and event venues in 2023. Mitsui Chemicals is supporting the startup to develop reusable containers made of food-grade bio-based material.

Shingo Yoshizumi, CEO of Kaman, said: “As with many new initiatives, the Megloo project faces the challenge scaling up operations from the pilot phase. We have a proven model but need the resources to expand our product further. Thanks to support from the Alliance, we are able to accelerate our growth to increase adoption and help to build a circular economy in towns, event venues and offices across Japan.”

RECOTECH is developing the POOL project, a system to "visualise" and centrally manage information on urban resources from the time they are generated to the time that they are supplied to manufacturers. With financing from the Alliance, the startup aims to expand their business network nationwide. Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings is also collaborating with RECOTECH on the collection of post-use flexible packaging to produce high-quality recyclate for the manufacture of new films and plastic products.

Ei Nozaki, CEO of RECOTECH, said: “It is crucial to drive innovation to the supply chain as a whole to establish a new and sustainable cycle for plastics. Our POOL project aims to start the transformation with small but practical and physical steps, visualising wasted plastic and ensuring traceability for stable procurement. We are confident that working with the Alliance will enable strong partnerships with the industry, allowing us to accelerate our project to expand nationwide and possibly further to Southeast Asia.”

Both companies are graduates of the End Plastic Waste Innovation Platform, an accelerator programme developed by the Alliance and Plug and Play Japan, the world's leading accelerator and venture capital headquartered in Silicon Valley. Some 11 startups, out of 150 Japanese and Korean companies, progressed through the programme held earlier this year in Tokyo. The initiative leverages Japan’s rich culture of innovation and technology to discover what could be the next generation of waste management solutions to advance plastics circularity.

Jacob Duer, President and CEO of the Alliance, said: “Many more solutions are needed to address the plastic waste challenge. This is why the Alliance acts as a global laboratory to test and help viable solutions scale for impact. The support of our member companies means that we can accelerate this process. By leveraging the rich culture of innovation in Japan, we demonstrate new models that can help advance a circular economy for plastic that can be replicated regionally and around the world.”

The Alliance has received strong support from a network of industry leaders in Japan—namely members ENEOS, Inabata, Kirin, Mitsubishi Chemical Group, Mitsui Chemicals, and Sumitomo Chemical, as well as partners CLOMA and JICA—to advance a global circular economy for plastic.