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3 Japan chemical firms to offer 10 bil. yen for plastic waste fund

This photo shows plastic waste washed ashore on the beach of a remote island in the U.S. state of Hawaii. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)(Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Three major Japanese chemical companies said Thursday they will contribute a total of around 10 billion yen ($92 million) to a newly launched international fund to help eliminate plastic waste.

The "Alliance to End Plastic Waste," made up of nearly 30 companies worldwide including U.S. consumer products giant Procter & Gamble, aims to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years to support efforts to better manage and recycle plastic waste.

Japan's Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp., Sumitomo Chemical Co. and Mitsui Chemicals Inc. have joined the new organization as founding members. Japan is responsible for the largest amount of plastic waste per capita after the United States.

Touching on ongoing industry efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic waste, Mitsui Chemicals President Tsutomu Tannowa said in a news release that Japanese methods can serve as a "model" to find a solution to the problem.

The global alliance will cover the so-called plastics value chain, including chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers and waste management companies.

Chemical makers from China, the largest producer of plastic waste, are not participating in the organization.

Plastics, used in straws, grocery bags and many other products, do not disintegrate naturally in the environment. Around 8 million tons of plastic waste is estimated to enter the oceans every year, greatly affecting marine ecosystems.

The new organization also plans to cooperate with national governments to raise awareness of plastic waste issues.

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