July 27, 2004

Iwanuma Mill to Join Sendai City Government in Recycling Disposable Chopsticks
— First in Japan for a major city —

Nippon Unipac Holding Group
Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd.

Iwanuma Mill, located in Iwanuma-city, Miyagi Prefecture, and part of Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd., will start a project to recycle disposable chopsticks in August this year, as a joint initiative with the Sendai City Government. The project is the first large-scale recycling initiative for disposable chopsticks to take place in a major Japanese city.

Disposable chopsticks are cheap and convenient, making them highly popular. Most used chopsticks are incinerated after use along with other garbage, and for some time there have been calls to set up a recycling system. The Sendai City Government has been promoting the use of reusable lacquered chopsticks, but has found it difficult to reduce actual use of disposable chopsticks quickly.
The Sendai City Government then began discussing with Iwanuma Mill ways to deal with the large-volume disposal of these chopsticks. As a result of the discussions, it was decided to initiate a joint public-private sector project to recover and recycle the chopsticks. Specifically, the government will set up boxes to collect washed and dried disposable chopsticks from restaurant owners and event organizers. It will also promote awareness in a bid to encourage cooperation with the recycling. Iwanuma Mill will then periodically collect disposable chopsticks from the boxes at its own cost, and recycle them as a raw material for papers.

Accompanying the organization it created last October to encourage corporate social responsibility by the Group, the Nippon Unipac Holding Group has established "The Nippon Unipac Holding Group Action Charter." Based on this Charter, the Group aims to operate in a way that maintains a balance among economic prosperity, environmental conservation and social fairness. As the core member of the Group, Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. is committed to this recycling project as part of its social and environmental initiatives.