Since January 2021, Kao Corporation and Kyoto University have been conducting verification testing of a Used Disposable Diaper Carbonization Recycling System in cooperation with Saito City, Ehime Prefecture in Japan. Technology for converting used diapers into carbon material is expected to be established in 2023, with the goal of beginning public implementation in or after 2025. This is a report on current progress with the project.
More than two million tons of used disposable diapers are discarded as trash each year in Japan, most of which is incinerated, and are said to comprise between 4–6% of burnable trash. The diapers have also absorbed a large amount of moisture, which in some cases can degrade incinerator combustion efficiency. Going forward, as the use of disposable diapers for adults increases with the aging of the population, the volume of waste is expected to increase and have an even greater impact on the environment. Establishment of an effective recycling technology is thus anticipated.
The project aims to achieve the following three objectives, thus contributing to reducing environmental impact*1 by reducing CO2 emissions.
1. Development of carbonization equipment for used disposable diapers
2. Conversion of carbonized used disposable diapers to carbon material
3. Public implementation of a recycling system
A review of infrastructure, including sites for installation of carbonization equipment and collection methods, is continuing.
In April 2019, the Kao Group established the Kirei Lifestyle Plan, an ESG strategy. Since its start in 2021, the Kao Group Mid-term Plan 2025 (K25) has proclaimed "protecting future lives" and promoting "sustainability as the only path" as its vision. The current initiative addresses one of the Kirei Lifestyle Plan's leadership actions, to contribute to "zero waste" and "decarbonization." The Kao Group will continue to integrate its ESG strategy into its management practices. It will also develop its business, provide better products and services for consumers and society, and work toward its purpose, "to realize a Kirei world in which all life lives in harmony."
Over the past 130 years, Kao has worked to improve people's lives and help them realize more sustainable lifestyles—a Kirei Lifestyle. The Japanese word 'kirei' describes something that is clean, well-ordered and beautiful, all at the same time. The Kao Group established its ESG strategy, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan in April 2019, which is designed to deliver the vision of a gentler and more sustainable way of living. By 2030, Kao aims to empower at least 1 billion people, to enjoy more beautiful lives and have 100% of its products leave a full lifecycle environmental footprint that science says our natural world can safely absorb. For more information please, click here.
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 1,420 billion yen in annual sales. Kao employs about 33,500 people worldwide and has 135 years of history in innovation. Please visit the Kao Group website for updated information.