News Releases

Sumitomo Chemical and PILOT to Jointly Develop New Technology for Horizontal Recycling of Plastic Products with Special Ink

Apr. 12, 2022

Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.

Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. and PILOT CORPORATION today announced that the companies will jointly develop new recycling technology for decolorizing printed layers of plastic packages and containers, which will enable horizontal recycling of plastic products—recycling used plastic products back to products used in similar applications.

Plastic is a useful material that supports people's daily lives and is used in various applications, such as automobiles, aircraft, electronic devices, and packages and containers. Meanwhile, as we work to create a circular economy, it is imperative to advance the development of plastic recycling technology that meets the needs of each application. In particular, most plastic packages and containers have printing on their surface, and when they are processed after use for material recycling*1, the ink colors remain, so it is difficult to recycle them back to a material of a sufficient quality level for the same application as the original product.

In this joint development, Sumitomo Chemical, leveraging the polymer design and processing technology it has cultivated, will work to develop a material recycling process that includes, as its core element, a melt kneading process to make ink decolored. PILOT will engage The Pilot Ink Co., Ltd., a subsidiary, to work on the development of a special ink suitable for that recycling process by utilizing the ink technology the group company has developed and owns. Through this collaboration, Sumitomo Chemical and PILOT aim to broaden the applications of recycled plastics and further enhance recycling of limited resources. The companies will also consider building a sorting and collection system for plastic packages and containers printed with special ink.

Sumitomo Chemical has defined contribution to reducing environmental impact as one of the material issues the Company addresses as management priorities. To meet this challenge, the Company is stepping up efforts to develop products and technologies for material recycling and for mono-material films*2, while also developing chemical recycling technology in collaboration with other companies and academic institutions.

PILOT has been working on the effective utilization of limited resources by promoting the reuse and recycling of products, with the aim of reducing environmental impact and creating a circular economy. The development of material recycling technology is part of that effort.

Through this joint development, Sumitomo Chemical and PILOT will contribute to reducing fossil resource usage, leakage of waste plastic into the environment, and the greenhouse gas emissions generated when waste plastics are incinerated and to creating a sustainable society.

*1 To recycle used plastics as raw materials by processing, such as crushing and melting.
*2 To make a product from a single material and thereby improve recyclability.


  • Sumitomo Chemical
    Corporate Communications Dept.

  • Regarding the ink
    Public Relations DEPT.