CSR Activity Report (CSR Guideline Activity Reports) - Contributing Solutions to Social Issues through Business Activities

Realizing a Circular Economy

As a manufacturer of a wide range of materials, Toray Group has been promoting various recycling initiatives to ensure that the earth's resources are efficiently utilized.
In the Toray Group Sustainability Vision, the Group outlines “a world where resources are sustainably managed,” as one of the perspectives of the world as envisioned in 2050. Conventional societies face a variety of problems, including the depletion of resources, marine pollution caused by large amounts of waste, and CO2 emissions. In order to solve these problems and realize a sustainable, circular economy that makes effective use of resources, the Group facilitates recycling of plastic products, switching to biomass for raw material, adopting renewable energy and hydrogen, and reusing water, across its various technologies.
In its Medium-Term Management Program, Project AP-G 2022, Toray Group identified helping to build a circular economy as a key issue. An initiative example in this area is material recycling1, which enables the reuse of products such as fibers/textiles, resins, and films. In addition, chemical recycling,2 which converts products that are difficult to mechanically recycle back into basic chemicals such as monomers and gases, is already implemented for nylon fiber/textile products.
Toray Group is also working to develop materials that use bio-based instead of fossil resources, and membrane-integrated bioprocess technology, which efficiently produces these raw materials. Moreover, the Group is promoting carbon recycling, the use of CO2 as a resource with our gas separation membranes. Toray technology is also used in the materials for the wind turbine blades and hydrogen production equipment that utilize renewable energy sources to generate electricity and hydrogen used in manufacturing processes, as well as in the water treatment membranes for the reuse of wastewater.
Under the Medium-Term Management Program, Project AP-G 2025, launched in fiscal 2023, Toray Group has set out helping to build a circular economy as an important objective. Accordingly, the Group aims to improve the value of its products and businesses by promoting further R&D. Additionally, Toray has identified the risks and opportunities associated with the transition to a circular economy as follows.


  • Increased cost of waste processing
  • Contraction of the materials market due to a shift away from mass production and consumption
  • Lost opportunities due to any delay in adapting to the circular economy


  • Growth of biomaterials business
  • Growth of recycled materials business
  • Growth of businesses that help reduce waste (waste reduction, and product durability)

In order to reduce the risks and maximize the opportunities, the Group intends to promote its biomaterials business and recycling as outlined below. In promoting these, Toray is also helping to create systems that can lay the foundation of a circular economy. These efforts include not only Toray Group's own activities, but also collaboration with recyclers (e.g. PET bottle recycling with Kyoei Industry Co., Ltd., and discarded fishing net recycling with Refineverse Group, Inc.), and collaboration with customers (e.g. fishing net-to-net recycling with Nitto Seimo Co., Ltd. and Maruha Nichiro Corporation).

  1. 1 Material recycling is a recycling process that uses heat to convert discarded plastic bottles and remnants produced during manufacturing processes into yarn, staple fiber, and other materials.
  2. 2 Chemical recycling is a recycling process that breaks down through depolymerization used products and remnants produced during manufacturing processes into monomers that are manufactured back into chips and then recycled into yarn, staple fiber and other materials.

Toray Group's target percentage of raw materials sourced from biomass and other recycled is 20% to be achieved by fiscal 2030 for core polymers (polyester and nylon). The actual rate in fiscal 2021 was only a few percent, and to achieve the 2030 target the Group will continue to promote recycling and the switch to biomass for raw materials.

Related Information

For more information on Toray Group waste reduction, chemical management, energy conservation, and climate change measures, please visit the website below.

Recycling Activity PrinciplesEstablished in March 2004

  1. We shall design, produce, and sell products that reduce our impact on the environment.
  2. We shall purchase and use materials and products which will help reduce our impact on the environment.
  3. We shall disclose information related to recycling programs and recycled goods.
  4. We shall voluntarily cooperate with customers to recycle or otherwise appropriately dispose of our products.

Biomaterials Business

Toray Group is promoting initiatives related to biomaterials under a unified brand, Ecodear. It is developing these products using raw materials derived from biomass-based resources rather than fossil resources. For example, Toray Group mass produces partially bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fibers that are made from plant-based ethylene glycol, derived from molasses byproducts. These fibers are also used to make UltrasuedePX and UltrasuedeBX synthetic suede texture fabrics. Toray Group is also proceeding with trial sales of 100% bio-based PET fiber, while developing membrane-integrated bioprocesses for the in-house production of biomass-based raw materials. The Group has recently developed and launched Ecodear N510, a nylon fiber made from 100% plant-based raw materials.

100% Bio-Based PET Fiber, Membrane-Integrated Bioprocesses

Toray Group is positioning its 100% bio-based PET material made from molasses-derived ethylene glycol and bio-para-xylene produced at its pilot plant, as one of its top environmentally conscious products. Toray Group seeks to launch mass production of these materials for sportswear and automotive interior applications as early in the 2020s as possible.
Toray Group is also developing a membrane-integrated bioprocess to enable bio-based raw materials to be manufactured with greater efficiency. This membrane-integrated bioprocess combines membrane separation technology and biotechnology to create new applications for water treatment membranes in processes such as saccharification, fermentation, and purification. The technology significantly improves the manufacturing of raw sugar from non-edible biomass and increases fermentation efficiency, thereby contributing to realizing biomaterials made from biomass-based raw materials. Toray Group is currently operating a technology demonstration project for a saccharification process that produces sugars from nonedible biomass. Toray Group will work to commercialize the technology, in order to build a supply chain that produces materials and chemicals from non-edible biomass.

100% Bio-Based PET Fiber, Membrane-Integrated Bioprocesses

Promoting Recycling

At Toray Group, Ecouse is the unified brand for recycling-related initiatives across a wide range of business segments including fibers & textiles, plastics, and films. These products include fibers made by recovering and recycling discarded PET bottles and scrap ends generated from manufacturing processes, recycled resin made from scrap ends generated during manufacturing and collected used products, as well as films made by recovering and recycling films that have been used in customer processes.
In the fiber/textile segment, Toray Group uses discarded plastic (PET) bottles as raw materials, along with filtering and cleaning technologies to remove foreign matter, making it possible to develop a wide variety of recycled products. In 2019, Toray Group introduced the &+ (“And plus”) brand of recycled fibers that include Toray’s original traceability function. After rebranding in April 2023, the Group added recycled fiber products made using nylon recovered from discarded fishing nets to the &+ brand. Through initiatives to encourage the recovery of recyclable items, the brand is promoting support for and participation in Toray's recycling efforts.
By utilizing waste fibers, resin, and film, the Group is promoting initiatives to create systems that recycle materials for various uses.

Fiber and Textile Recycling

&+ Fiber Brand Derived from Recycled Plastic Bottles

Previously, fibers derived from recycled plastic bottles were limited in variety due to contaminants mixed into raw materials, which made it difficult to produce special cross-sections and fine fibers. In response, Toray together with Kyoei Industry Co., Ltd. developed contaminant filtering technology and advanced plastic bottle cleaning techniques to stabilize the supply of high-quality raw materials. Combining these technologies with Toray’s fiber production technology, it is possible to achieve the same level of diversity in fabric applications as with fiber materials made directly from fossil resources. Moreover, Toray has commercialized its highly reliable polyester fiber under the &+ brand by incorporating its proprietary traceability technology that can detect special additives premised in with plastic bottle-based raw materials. In January 2020, Toray Industries began full-scale sales of &+ brand products. Going forward, the goal is to expand the scale of the brand by utilizing a diverse supply chain that includes textiles and sewn products, as well as fibers, and involves production sites around the world. The Group is also creating a unique recovery scheme for discarded fishing nets in collaboration with a recycling company and a fishing net manufacturer. The nylon in the recovered nets will be used for a newly released recycled nylon fiber material sold under the &+ brand. Through the production and sale of high-value-added recycled nylon fiber based on Toray's chemical recycling technology, the Group aims to raise awareness of the need to help recover discarded fishing nets and is working to further promote the activity. The Group also intends to expand its recycled fiber material lineup to enable product planning that will further satisfy the needs of consumers.

PET Bottle Recycling Process to Make &+ Products
PET Bottle Recycling Process to Make &+™ Products
  1. 3 &+ fiber can be made into a wide variety of textiles. It is therefore used in a wide range of clothing including fashion garments and sportswear, by meeting diverse needs for functionality and texture.
    Clean PET bottles that have been properly sorted are transformed using various recycling processes into high-quality &+ PET fiber.

Promoting Recycling with UNIQLO

Together with UNIQLO, Toray is promoting new initiatives for sustainable products, with Toray supplying fibers made from recycled plastic bottles for UNIQLO’s quick-drying wear DRY-EX brand polo shirts starting in 2020.
In addition, UNIQLO stores are collecting used down items from customers to recycle the feathers. Conventionally, the stuffing in duvets and other objects incorporating down is manually removed. Such processes are arduous with Ultra Light Down items because of their thin outer fabric and complex construction. By developing special extraction machinery, Toray has fully automated cutting, stirring and separating, and recovery, for 50-fold the process capacity of manual processes, thus greatly alleviating workloads. Toray and UNIQLO are jointly developing new recycling-based down products from recycled feathers.

Resin Recycling

Toray Group is developing sustainable resin materials through recycling and the use of bio-based raw materials.
In the area of resin recycling, the Group is developing and distributing recycled resins based on a proprietary formulation design using material and chemical recycling (depolymerization chemical recycling), which breaks down polymers into monomer raw materials before re-polymerizing them.
Going forward, Toray will actively work to recycle resin using post-consumer material for recycling, thereby promoting sustainable resource utilization.
Furthermore, Ecouse, a group-wide unified brand for recycled materials and products, will be expanded to include resins, and the development of the Ecouse series of environmentally friendly resin materials will be accelerated.

  1. Recycled nylon 66 “Ecouse”AMILAN: Toray has developed a recycled nylon 66 resin compound that is made by removing silicone from airbag fabric scrap cuttings, and then washing the remaining material. With Toray’s proprietary additive compounding technology, residual silicone resin is prevented from migrating to the surface of molded products, and mold adhesion is also significantly reduced. Accordingly, the flowability and mechanical properties of recycled nylon 66 “Ecouse”AMILAN are on par with injection molding grades derived from virgin raw materials.
  2. Recycled PBT resin (polybutylene terephthalate) “Ecouse”TORAYCON: Toray has launched a recycled PBT resin, “Ecouse”TORAYCON, as a chemically recycled resin with physical properties comparable to virgin materials.
  3. Recycled PPS (polyphenylene sulfide) resin “Ecouse”TORELINA: Toray has developed a material recycling technology for glass fiber reinforced PPS resin.

In the area of bio-based raw material use, in 2023 Toray plans to launch biomass-based acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resin made using the mass balance method (after ISCC Plus certification) by employing styrene monomer derived from biomass naphtha (biomass styrene monomer made using the mass balance method).

Resin Resource Recycling Initiatives
Resin Resource Recycling Initiatives

Film Recycling

Toray Industries is promoting production activities that use resources carefully by using PET in such forms as waste from the PET film LUMIRROR manufacturing process to make eco-friendly textile and resin products and film. In addition, the Company operates a recycling system for collecting used PET film from customer manufacturing processes to be recycled and reused as raw material for film.

Processing and Re-using Recovered Raw Materials Generated from Manufacturing Processes
Processing and Re-using Recovered Raw Materials Generated from Manufacturing Processes

Reusing waste PET film from customer manufacturing processes

Toray Industries has established a recycling system to collect used films from electronic component applications and recover them for use in producing films, launching the Ecouse series, which is helping to create a world where resources are managed sustainably. The company combined mechanical recycling process technology, which removes coating materials and resins from film surfaces, with foreign matter removal techniques for each manufacturing process to enable reuse of the recovered materials in films without impairing mechanical characteristics or reliability. These PET films have reduced the amount of fossil-based resin used as a raw material and can therefore lower CO2 emissions by up to 50% compared to conventional films. The Company will continue to make use of this system to help build a circular economy.

Reusing waste PET film from customer manufacturing processes

Carbon Fiber Recycling

Due to its excellent mechanical properties, carbon fiber allows products to be lighter and last longer. Therefore, it is a material that significantly curbs CO2 emissions over the entire lifecycle of the products, including their operation, contributing to solutions for global environmental issues. In particular, the use of carbon fiber in environmental products such as large wind turbines, aircraft, and hydrogen tanks significantly reduces CO2 emissions during their operation. As demand grows, market expectations for the development of carbon fiber recycling technologies are also on the rise.
The successful development of recycled carbon fiber and associated applications requires collaboration with a wide range of customers to explore various possibilities for use in specific parts and materials. Toray Industries collaborated with Toyota Tsusho Corporation in a program of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) for the development of a highly efficient recycled carbon fiber manufacturing technology that uses an innovative and energy-efficient thermal decomposition method4, and completed the project in 2017. This new technology uses combustible gas from matrix resin as the energy source for the thermal decomposition process, which is the process that consumes the most energy in this type of carbon fiber recycling. As a result, the companies have significantly reduced the amount of energy consumed in the recycling process. As a result, the companies have significantly reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the recycling process to less than one-tenth of the energy consumption and CO2 emissions of virgin carbon fiber production. With an eye towards future commercialization, Toray Industries constructed and began to operate a pilot plant to test energy-efficient recycled carbon fiber manufacturing technologies. In addition, Toray Group will work with its customers to promote the development of new applications for recycled carbon fiber.
Through these efforts, the Group aims to establish a circular flow of carbon fiber that will help drive a circular economy. (See chart below.)

Establishing a Circular Economy (CE) That Uses Recycled Carbon Fiber
Establishing a Circular Economy (CE) That Uses Recycled Carbon Fiber
  1. 4 Thermal decomposition method: A recycling method in which carbon fiber is recovered by heating carbon fiber composite materials and thermally decomposing the matrix resins.

Blockchain-based Traceability

Since recycled materials basically have the same physical properties as virgin materials derived from fossil resources, traceability is important for assuring customers that the material has actually been recycled. Therefore, Toray is using blockchain technology to create a traceability system based on manufacturing and transport data from the supply chains of Toray Group products. The technology prevents input data from being tampered with.

Blockchain-based Traceability System
Blockchain-based Traceability System

Click here for the main initiatives for CSR Guideline 7, “Contributing Solutions to Social Issues through Business Activities” in CSR Roadmap 2022.