Plastic litter and microplastics that are 5 mm or smaller in the sea are raising major concerns as a problem that affects not only the marine environment but also the ecosystem itself, requiring the immediate attention of the international community as well as that of the nation. Plastics can be found in every body of water around the world and 8 million tons are still said to be flowing into the oceans each year and it is also a well-known fact that 80 percent of these plastics are land-based, i.e. originate from our daily lives, such as the plastic bottles that we drink from.
To address the problem of marine plastics, Nissui will commence the promotion of 3R activities (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) of plastics and the study of the use of alternative materials. Furthermore, Nissui will share a common awareness as a Group and carry out activities to clean up areas surrounding its business locations and public areas such as beaches and rivers for the following purposes:
1. To contribute to the local community; and
2. To pick up litter and marine debris including plastics to prevent them from running off into the sea.
In February 2019, the Marine Environment and Plastics Subcommittee was established, due to concerns over the impact of marine plastics on Nissui’s businesses, against the backdrop of social issues including the progression of serious marine pollution on a global scale caused by marine plastics among others, the concerns for the impact of marine plastics on the marine ecosystem and human beings, and the failure of recycling to function as a result of the reduction in the effective utilization of waste plastic. The two working groups (the Marine Environment WG and the Plastics WG) are, respectively, promoting activities, with Executive Officers appointed as Chairmen of the working groups and General Managers and section chiefs of relevant divisions appointed as members.
The Marine Environment Working Group is promoting zero emission of plastics in the marine environment.
The Plastics Working Group is promoting the 3R + R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle + Renewable) of plastic resources.
Twice a year since 2010 the Nissui Group has been carrying out the “Cleanup Campaign,” activities to clean up the areas surrounding the Group’s domestic business locations around the country. In the advance information given prior to the cleanup , the participants learn that litter could potentially flow into the rivers and reach the ocean and that this activity is not merely a cleanup exercise but a way to prevent litter from flowing into the ocean, and are made aware of the relationship between this activity and Nissui’s business.
In the 18th Cleanup Campaign held during May and June 2019, 1,659 employees of the 111 domestic offices participated and picked up a total of 2,831 kg of rubbish.
Nissui’s overseas Group companies are also carrying out activities to clean up the areas surrounding its business locations.
Since 2017, Nissui, with the cooperation of the NPO, The Arakawa Clean-aid Forum , has been learning about the river environment, experiencing biodiversity and conducting cleanup activities to pick up litter. In fiscal 2019, in addition to the seminar for new employees to get to experience the importance of the sea which started in fiscal 2018, a seminar was held in May at Arakawa for the CSR Promotion Team Members of the head office who were responsible for promoting CSR activities (One member has been assigned to each department). Additionally, in September a program for employees and family members was carried out with 20 participants. In the classroom, the participants listened to a lecture on the social issues surrounding the problem of marine plastics based on the latest data and came face-to-face with the problem in the subsequent fieldwork conducted on the riverbed. The participants were astounded at the volume of rubbish and the mounds of plastic wastein the river and thought about the tasks that could be done by each person close to home in order to solve this problem.
In 2018, Nissui, as part of its efforts to combat food loss, made and distributed My Boxes (personal food containers made of LIMEX) to its employees. LIMEX is a new material made mainly of lime stone to replace paper and plastics. My Boxes can be used as a doggy bag to take home food left over from dining out or as an alternative to the disposable plastic containers used by food stalls and other venues. The message, “IMA JIBUNGA DEKIRUKOTO (What I can do now)” is printed on the top of the box, while the bottom shows the related SDGs and the message, “We will act responsibly and finish our food, considering there are people who do not have enough to eat ” and “This is a challenge that will lead to bountiful seas.”
Marine litter including plastics is said to originate from the land, mainly from the cities but its discharge routes are not known. In fiscal 2018, Nissui became a supporter of Pirika Inc., which is committed to the Albatross Project that aims to investigate the facts surrounding plastics flowing into the ocean and has commenced concrete approaches in dealing with the problems of the marine environment and the problem of plastics flowing into the ocean, which are directly connected to Nissui’s business.
Details of the Albatross Project which aims to investigate the facts surrounding the problem of plastics flowing into the ocean●STEP1
Development of research methods : Develop an effective method of research on the flow of plastics into the ocean.●STEP2
Clarification of the flow mechanism : Study the mechanism of plastics flowing into the ocean (flow routes and flow items) and narrow down the problem.●STEP3
Study and implementation of measures : Study, prioritize and implement measures to combat the problem of plastics flowing into the ocean.