OVOL Insight
Project Story

Working Together to Build a Circular Economy That Makes the Most of Local Resources

The Japan Pulp & Paper Group is working to solve social issues with the support of the group's advanced technological capabilities. Firstly, it is worth mentioning the wastepaper processing technology possessed by the Corelex Group. The group produces toilet paper and tissue paper by extracting pulp fiber from difficult-to-recycle wastepaper*1 that was once considered difficult to reuse as a raw material for recycled paper. This wastepaper processing technology is attracting attention from various companies and government agencies in Japan.


The Corelex Group has been contributing to resource recycling by utilizing its proprietary technologies. Here we will introduce one example from the group, Corelex Shin-Ei Co., Ltd., which is headquartered in Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The company is working together with S-Pulse Co., Ltd. (hereinafter, S-Pulse), which manages the J-League soccer club team, Shimizu S-Pulse, to build a circular economy that makes the best use of local resources.

            *1 Aluminum-lined paper packs, paper laminated with film, etc., photocopied slips, soiled food containers, etc.             

Hideaki Suzuki
Sales Department, Shizuoka Head office
Corelex Shin-Ei Co., Ltd.
Ryosuke Wakasugi
Education Business Administration Department, Business Division
S-Pulse Co., Ltd.
Kyoko Hatano
Education Business Administration Department, Business Division
S-Pulse Co., Ltd.
(Names of affiliations and positions are current as of the time of the interview.)

Paper Manufacturing Supports Environmental Conservation Activities, Which in Turn Leads to Social Contribution Activities

Although the Corelex Group has more than half a century of history, it is a latecomer to the market as a recycled household paper manufacturer. The group has a history of expanding the range of wastepaper items it recovers due to the difficulty of procuring wastepaper in its wastepaper collection business, and from this arose the concept of recycling paper resources that had previously been incinerated. This resulted in a high level of technological innovation. Since then, the Corelex Group has continued to take on the challenge of becoming a group that is truly needed by society through its wastepaper recycling technology, under the eternal theme of “passing on a green Earth to our children.”

In July 2023, the traditional online store was completely redesigned. One of the reasons behind this is the change in the general customer movement. Suzuki of Corelex Shin-Ei, who was managing inventory and shipping products based on orders from the online store, also felt the change. “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed people's lifestyles, and an increasing number of people are purchasing toilet paper and other products from our website. The group's desire to provide a more comfortable online shopping experience also encouraged the renewal of the site,” Suzuki said. The online store carries 100% recycled toilet paper. Earth-friendly paper production contributes to forest conservation and reduction of environmental impact. Moreover, the Corelex Group considers it part of its social contribution activities to extend the awareness of environmental protection that it has been working on through its business to the local community.

Further Strengthen Cooperation With S-Pulse

Suzuki is currently involved in a collaborative project with S-Pulse. In 2007, S-Pulse launched a project entitled, “To be an Earth-friendly soccer club. To pass on a comfortable soccer environment to the next generation.” Since then, S-Pulse has been implementing the "S-Pulse Eco Challenge" on an ongoing basis. In recent years, the company has spurred zero-carbon promotion in collaboration with partner companies and others and has also involved supporters and local residents to promote behavioral change.

One example is an initiative to recycle used paper cups from IAI Stadium Nihondaira (hereinafter, IAI Stadium), the home of Shimizu S-Pulse, and return them to the stadium in the form of toilet paper. This trend has accelerated since S-Pulse signed a club partnership agreement with Corelex Shin-Ei in 2021.
Suzuki went on to say, “the weight of paper cups collected at IAI Stadium has been steadily increasing: 130kg in the 2021 season, 400kg in the 2022 season, and 500kg in the 2023 season (as of September 11). This is partly due to the fact that the number of visitors has increased compared to when there were restrictions on activities based on measures against new COVID-19 infections, but we also see it as a sign that the awareness of recycling has spread among supporters through continued efforts.”

Working With Supporters and Local Residents to Address Environmental Issues

In recent years, Corelex Shin-Ei has further strengthened its cooperation with external parties and is further expanding its efforts to reduce its environmental impact. Similarly, S-Pulse was also intent on further expanding the recycling of paper resources in a different way from the collection activities at IAI Stadium. In order to see this idea come to fruition, together we launched a project in April 2023 as part of the Eco Challenge. This project is called the “SDGs Environmental Education Program: Collect and Recycle Miscellaneous Wastepaper into Toilet Paper!” At S-Pulse Dream Field (hereinafter, SDF), futsal facilities operated by S-Pulse, we've begun collecting difficult-to-recycle wastepaper, otherwise known as “Miscellaneous Wastepaper”*2, which used to be incinerated as garbage.

The total amount of miscellaneous wastepaper collected since April 2023 at the five SDF locations throughout Shizuoka Prefecture (Sunto, Fuji, Shimizu, Shizuoka, and Fujieda) was 8,210kg as of the end of July. If all of this was incinerated, approximately 10,410kg of CO2 would be emitted, but if it was dissolved and recycled into toilet paper, the estimated amount would be approximately 4,014kg. As a result of the cooperation of children attending SDF facilities, their families, and SDF staff in sorting and collecting miscellaneous wastepaper at each household, approximately 6,396kg of CO2 will be reduced*3 (see left chart for the basis of the calculation). This reduction is equivalent to the CO2 emissions of eight round trips from Hokkaido in the north of Japan to Kagoshima in the south by car.

*2 Almost all paper used in daily life other than commonly collected newspapers, magazines, cardboard, milk cartons, etc. (Excluding soiled paper such as used tissue paper and blotting paper)

*3 Calculations using paper packs as an example: (Source: Ministry of the Environment contracted survey "FY2004 Report on Survey Project for Life Cycle Assessment of Containers and Packaging")             

In addition to adopting a style that allows children to participate in a fun competition to collect wastepaper at the five SDF sites, the amount collected was regularly reported on the S-Pulse official website, and other means were also used to increase the sense of competition and unity among participants. As a result, the weight of wastepaper collected increased with each passing day, and so did the amount of miscellaneous wastepaper.
Furthermore, a "Zero Carbon Soccer Clinic" event was planned for parents and their children aged from five to seven years old. Through quizzes on what items can be recycled as paper resources, the event provided an opportunity for younger children to learn about recycling in a fun way.

Wakasugi of S-Pulse says that the added entertainment value mentioned above has worked well in raising awareness of paper recycling. What started as a game has become a part of daily life, and the number of households that consider the separation and collection of miscellaneous waste a normal part of life is increasing at an accelerating pace. Wakasugi went on to say, “We had a number of detailed meetings with Corelex Shin-Ei from the planning stage to the implementation of the project. At first, we were concerned about whether we would be able to collect any paper at all, but this concern was quickly allayed once we started. The number of repeat customers who bring their miscellaneous wastepaper to our locations is steadily increasing. It is no exaggeration to say that the enthusiasm and energy of Mr. Suzuki and his team have changed the mindset of those who participate in this project and made the miscellaneous wastepaper collection program, which started from scratch, take root in the community.”

  • Zero Carbon Soccer Clinic
  • A performance by dance school students

The partnership between Corelex Shin-Ei and S-Pulse has deepened even further with the S-Pulse Dance School continuing to perform on a stage set up at the "Product Exhibition and Sale & Paper Exchange" event that Corelex Shin-Ei holds for local residents.
The S-Pulse Dance School offers lessons with the motto "Smile with Dance" for all levels, from its Kids Class for four and five year-olds to the Selection Class for those aiming to become a member of S-Pulse's official cheerleading squad, Orange Wave. Corelex Shin-Ei signed an agreement to become an S-Pulse Dance School Learning Supporting Partner in September 2023.

Hatano of S-Pulse, who is in charge of this project, emphasizes the educational aspect of the dance school. The goal is not only to improve dance technique, but also to develop leadership and cooperative skills, and to foster human resources who can shine in front of a large crowd," she says.

Hatano says the Learning Supporting Partner Agreement was made possible when a Corelex Shin-Ei spokesperson approached them and said, “Let's work together to collect paper resources”, after seeing the dance school students, who had understood the purpose of the event, taking it upon themselves to actively call for the exchange of wastepaper and the collection of miscellaneous papers from the stage.

Suzuki of Corelex Shin-Ei sees this new partner as a reassuring presence. “We are a company that recycles paper resources. Therefore, we are grateful for the opportunity to borrow S-Pulse's ability to "attract" people with soccer and dance, or in other words, S-Pulse's strong communication ability, to spread the word and let supporters and local residents know about recycling, which can be done in a fun and familiar way. We hope that the school students will continue to cooperate with the collection of miscellaneous wastepaper, and at the same time, we hope to further raise environmental awareness among local residents and children (Suzuki).

Working Together With “For the Earth” as Our Common Goal

The collection of miscellaneous wastepaper in collaboration with S-Pulse is an example of an SDG activity that anyone can undertake with only a slight change in awareness. The Collect and Recycle Miscellaneous Wastepaper into Toilet Paper! project, which began in April 2023, has helped to promote a change in people's behavior. Through the activities with S-Pulse, we realized that once people have a chance to understand the proper separation of paper resources, they will continue to do so without any difficulty. We hope to use these results as a basis for collaboration with other companies and organizations. (Suzuki)

Of course, S-Pulse also hopes that the recycling circle will expand even further. We have heard that many companies and organizations are highly interested in SDGs and CSR-related activities but are not sure where to start. As we have been talking to companies and organizations that we have a relationship with individually, we are seeing an increasing number of them expressing interest. If this trend continues, the circle of wastepaper recycling activities will be further expanded and enhanced beyond supporters, local residents, and dance school students. I believe there are many more ways we can contribute to the local community through the collection of miscellaneous wastepaper. (Wakasugi)

With the same goal of "for the Earth," the two companies will continue to work together toward the single objective of "Building a Circular Economy That Makes the Most of Local Resources."

Information in OVOL Insight is current as of the date of publication.
Please note that this is subject to change without notice.
Date of Publication: November 15, 2023