JAPAN – Mitsubishi Corporation has agreed with consumer-packaged goods provider Suntory Holdings and energy firm ENEOS Corporation to develop a supply chain for sustainable PET plastic bottles derived from biomass.

Under the agreement, the bio-based feedstock will be supplied by Neste Corporation to replace fossil naphtha, and ENEOS will manufacture bio-paraxylene (PX) from bio-naphtha at its Mizushima Refinery using the mass balance method.

Bio-PX will then be used as a raw material in the production of bio-high purity terephthalic acid (PTA) and resin for bio-PET bottles, with which Suntory will produce PET bottles for its products.

Mitsubishi Corporation will oversee and manage this supply chain, which expects to help reduce the CO2 emissions generated by traditional, petroleum-based production processes.

It is anticipated that, by the end of 2023, bio-PX equivalent to approximately 35 million PET bottles will be produced; this is then set to be used by Suntory to produce PET bottles next year.

By utilizing biomass in PET bottle manufacturing and further developing recycling systems, Mitsubishi Corporation looks towards decarbonization in the industry and hopes to lower reliance on fossil resources.

Additionally, as part of the company’s Three Corporate Principles, it aims to meet the “Contributing to Decarbonized Societies” “Conserving and Effectively Utilizing Natural Capital” “Promoting Stable, Sustainable Societies and Lifestyles” and “Utilizing Innovation to Address Societal Needs” issues relating to its “Realizing a Carbon Neutral Society and Striving to Enrich Society Both Materially and Spiritually” clause.

“We believe the usage of biomass for PET bottles, together with further development of the recycling system, will play an important role in the realization of a low-carbon and decarbonized society as well as in reducing dependency on fossil resources,” Mitsubishi said in a statement.

By leading the project, Mitsubishi and its partners would be eligible for generating plastic credits and earn from them.

Plastic credits are a market-based tool to fight the global problem of plastic pollution, the same as how carbon credits are for battling carbon emissions.

Late last year, Mitsubishi Corporation partnered with Neste, Idemitsu Kosan, and CHIMEI in the pursuit of another supply chain for renewable plastics; this one made use of Neste’s bio-based hydrocarbons to produce styrene monomer and its renewable, mass-balanced derivatives such as bio-ABS.

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