Kao and the No Waste Scenario
Plastic packaging plays an important role in the effectiveness of our products – it’s versatile, adaptable and flexible. However, overuse of plastic has always been a concern for us and our consumers because of the potential negative impact on nature. Around half of the 300 million tons of plastic waste comes from single-use plastics, and a large portion of the plastic that is leaking into our waterways and oceans originates from Asia. As a company headquartered in this region, Kao believes it has a responsibility to tackle the challenge of reducing the use of plastics in our product packaging (see Kao’s Philosophy and Actions on Plastic Packaging), and to ensure that what plastic we do use gets recycled.
Leading the way with innovative solutions
Kao has long been a leader in innovative packaging in its home market of Japan. Through Kao’s efforts in refill packaging, the total weight of plastic used in packages for the household and personal care categories has been reduced by 74%. Now, over 80% of all purchases in these categories are being made in refill formats, a sure sign that refills have become a regular routine adopted in everyday homes. Why? Constant innovation that put the consumers at the heart of our efforts has enabled Kao to evolve its packages in order to make refilling so easy, with no fuss, no spills, and no leftover residue.
But what happens after its use?
But reducing plastic use isn’t enough. We need to make sure that the plastic we do use doesn’t leak into the natural world. RecyCreation is a breakthrough recycling intervention and education program where Kao partners with NGOs and local governments to help educate consumers to recycle the refillable pouches they use. “Ultimate success to me is creating a world where throwing things away is no longer something that you do. Rubbish is no longer rubbish when you realize that it can be created into something beautiful” comments Rena Takamura, researcher leading the RecyCreation project. Empowerment to responsible consumption is a critical part of contributing to the SDGs Goal of Responsible Consumption and Production.
Toward “zero ocean plastic waste, 100% recyclable, and zero residue”
“Our goal in packaging is zero ocean plastic waste, 100% recyclable, and zero residue” calls out Yoshihiro Hasebe, head of R&D at Kao. And now a new technology from Kao is about to come into shape: a thin piece of film gets inflated at the sides with air allowing it to gain a rigid structure that stands on its own. The result is that this thin piece of film becomes your primary package. Imagine moving away from those heavy thick plastic bottles all together. Kao’s no zero waste scenario in packaging – zero ocean plastic waste, 100% recyclable, and zero residue, is now about to enter a new phase.