TOKYO — March 10, 2023 — DIC Corporation announced today that it has reached an agreement with Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., to build a new biomass plastics supply chain, as well as to begin exploring the production of biomass polystyrene*. Actual production of biomass polystyrene, at DIC’s Yokkaichi Plant, is scheduled to commence by the second half of the fiscal year 2023.
In recent years, climate change—a key cause of which is CO2 emissions—has been identified as an increasingly critical global challenge and as a crucial social imperative. In Japan, initiatives aimed at achieving resource circulation and carbon neutrality are accelerating. Recent developments include the enforcement of the new Plastic Resource Circulation Act and the implementation of various adjustments in advance of the launch of a carbon pricing system, scheduled for some time in the 2030s. Both DIC and Idemitsu Kosan recognize stepping up efforts to address climate change and advancing the sustainable, circular use of resources as key management responsibilities, prompting the decision to explore the production of low–environmental impact polystyrene made with biomass naphtha–based styrene monomer.
Because it is derived from plant matter, a renewable resource, biomass naphtha boasts lower CO2 emissions than conventional petroleum-derived naphtha. Idemitsu Kosan’s biomass naphtha–based styrene monomer† has earned ISCC PLUS certification under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) system‡, verifying its sustainability, in line with which the company employs the mass balance approach§ for the products its supplies. DIC also expects to obtain ISCC PLUS certification in the first half of the fiscal year 2023, positioning the two companies to begin the production of biomass polystyrene as scheduled.
Biomass plastics supply chains require stronger partnerships at all stages—from production of raw material biomass naphtha through to the production of biomass polystyrene—than those for conventional products. DIC and Idemitsu Kosan have agreed on a basic policy of contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions in the plastics industry for the new supply chain they will build. Through this partnership, the two companies will continue to strengthen their cooperation with customers and suppliers, to ensure the new supply chain’s carbon neutrality and contribute to a circular economy.
* Polystyrene is a thermoplastic polymer made from styrene monomers and is one of five major general-purpose plastics, the other four being high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride. Polystyrene is divided into two main types: general-purpose polystyrene (GPPS), which is clear and hard, and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), created by adding rubber particles to GPPS to enhance toughness, which also makes it opaque.
† Styrene monomer is an aromatic carbon in which one hydrogen atom of the benzene is replaced with a vinyl group. In addition to occurring naturally, styrene monomer is generally synthesized by chemically reacting benzene with ethylene. Styrene monomer is the precursor to several resins, including polystyrene and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).
‡ ISCC is a global sustainability and carbon certification system. ISCC PLUS verifies that biomass-based and recycled materials and products sold worldwide are appropriately managed and secured across supply chains.
• When raw materials having certain sustainability characteristic (e.g., biomass-derived raw materials) are combined with raw materials not having that characteristic (e.g., petroleum-derived raw materials) in processing or distribution, the mass balance approach makes it possible to attribute the sustainability characteristic, based on input volume of the pertinent raw materials, to a portion of the resulting products.
About Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.
Headquarters: 2-1, Otemachi 1-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Representative: Shunichi Kito, Representative Director, President, and CEO
Established: 1940 (Founding: 1911)
Principal businesses: Idemitsu Kosan is involved in a variety of businesses in diverse areas around the world, including fuel oil, petrochemicals, lubricants, electronics materials, electric power and renewable energy, oil and gas development, and coal.
About DIC Corporation
Headquarters: DIC Building, 7-20, Nihonbashi 3-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Representative: Kaoru Ino, Representative Director, President, and CEO
Established: 1937 (Founding: 1908)
Principal businesses: The DIC Group is recognized as a global leader in the markets for a variety of products essential to modern lifestyles, including packaging materials, display materials such as those used in television and computer displays, and high-performance materials for smartphones and other digital devices, as well as for automobiles.