top of page

Recycling method that Japan is proud of
connect to the future


Beginning of Pana Chemical

In 1976, founder Shigehei Inukai established Pana Chemical Co., Ltd. as a distributor for the general plastic materials sold by Matsushita Electric Works, in a corner near a train station in the suburbs of Suginami Ward, Tokyo. It started with three employees. At that time, an oil shock *1 wind was blowing all over Japan,
With no plastic raw materials*2 to purchase, I continued to think about how I could make up for the shortage of raw materials.

*1 The oil crisis began in 1973 and peaked in 1980.
*2 Plastic is made from crude oil.


A fateful scene

led to the recycling business

Meanwhile, Shigehira happens to pass by Tsukiji Market on his way home from work and witnesses a fateful sight. It was black smoke rising from the market. In the days when the word "recycle" did not even exist, the Tsukiji market burned a large amount of Styrofoam that was discarded every day.

from here

of styrofoam recycling
history begins

Tsukiji market is the place where the amount of Styrofoam used is the largest in Japan. A large amount of Styrofoam is discarded and burned. On the other hand, the shortage of plastic raw materials in Japan was becoming more serious day by day. ``How can we solve this problem?'' Shigehira continued to come up with a business plan, but the market people didn't listen to him.


Business model for recycling

After much thought, Shigehira devised a business model for processing styrofoam into recycled plastic and recycling it. Persuaded a machine manufacturer to develop the first processing machine. Styrofoam suitable for recycling resourcesWe succeeded in making it into a resin lump (A lamp*). Pana Chemical procured raw materials for plastic by purchasing A-lamps processed in the market, and proposed a business model to those involved in the Tsukiji market to create recycled resources from waste.

* A lamp is an ingot obtained by thermally reducing the volume of polystyrene foam for recycling. lumps of resin.

Still unreliable.

Days of Resolution and Action

"Is it just an excuse to sell the machine, or is it credible?" Even after delivery of the processing machine, it is difficult to get people to understand the recycling system. The market reaction was still lukewarm. You must show your determination to keep your promises. Shigehira exchanged a pledge with the market manager and went to the market every day to explain the operation of the processing machine and to purchase recycled A lamps. Shigehira gradually gained the trust of market players. That is how the Styrofoam purchasing system (J-EPS recycling) was finally born.


get on track

recycling system.
Recycled resources crossed the ocean

This recycling system got on track and began to spread throughout the country. Shigehira had a plan in Japan to recycle the purchased A lamp. However, as this system became more popular, the amount of goods purchased from the market also increased, and finally we had to expand our sales channels overseas. Shigehira searched Taiwan, South Korea, China, and India for export destinations for recycled resources, and finally landed in Hong Kong. Coincidentally, in Hong Kong, the demand for purchasing recycled resources increased, and the recycling of plastics took off. It was a strong market.


To create a global recycling loop

Big leap for the system

This recycling system, which has spread to central wholesale markets and local markets throughout the country, continued to expand with the help of strong overseas demand. Before I knew it, our market share had reached 80% of the national market, and the monthly collection volume had steadily increased from 2,000 tons to 3,000 tons. Coincidentally, the videocassette tape was developed, and the A-lamp was adopted as the raw material for its plastic case. The performance of the recycling processing machine has also improved significantly, and the machine sales have been favorable, and it has been widely covered by the mass media.


Difficulties Overcome with Customers

In 1996, Hong Kong banned the import of waste. Pana Chemical kept its promise to market participants and continued to purchase A lamps for half a year. Warehouses all over the country were filled to the brink of bankruptcy. Still, he believed that "continuity is his mission," and continued recycling with customers to the limit. As the business expanded, the company began to handle recycled plastic raw materials called “resource plastics” in addition to recycled polystyrene foam. In 2004, when China banned the import of waste plastics, Panachemical continued to buy A lamps. We had 14,000 tons in stock and continued to endure. This was possible thanks to the determination of Shigehira, who had created this system, and by extension, of Pana Chemical.

resource plastic

7,000 tons per month

Currently, Pana Chemical's recyclable plastic recycling business is on track, and it has become one of Japan's largest plastic recycling companies, handling 7,000 tons of recyclable plastics and A lamps per month. A system for buying resource plastics as a value that started when he noticed the black smoke rising from the Tsukiji Market. Today, we have grown and have introduced the system to 2,000 companies nationwide. This system of selling recycling processing machines and purchasing the recyclable plastics produced continues to grow through cooperative relationships and relationships of trust with customers.


Aiming to be a small but strong company

Pana Chemical is not a big company by any means. However, I have believed that there are things we can do because we are a small company. The reason we have been able to build relationships of trust with our current 2,000 customers is because we are a "small company" that is single-minded and passionate about one thing. This is the result of our scrutiny.

“We will continue to take pride in being a small company. We will connect people, connect resources, connect to the future, and expand the circle of plastic recycling to Japan and the world.Pana Chemical Co., Ltd.

bottom of page