Limestone instead of paper and plastic
Paper and plastics are indispensable to our daily lives, but they are manufactured using the earth’s limited resources, placing a heavy burden on the global environment. For example, plastics not only use a lot of petroleum-based raw materials but also do not decompose naturally. Likewise, paper also requires a large amount of wood and water in its production.
A limestone-based material LIMEX (Lymex), developed by TBM, a Japanese venture company established in 2011, is attracting attention as an alternative to paper and plastic. The world has significant limestone reserves, and Japan, which lacks natural resources, can be 100% self-sufficient. Considering that efficient recycling is possible, it can be said that it is an almost limitless resource.
LIMEX can be used as an alternative to petroleum-based plastics because it can be processed in the same way as plastics, including injection molding. More companies are using it as a business card or a menu because it can be rolled out into a sheet of paper and printed out. It also offers advantages such as durability and water resistance that paper does not.
In addition, LIMEX can be manufactured using almost no wood or water. After use, it can be recycled into pellets for reuse. TBM considers the recovery of unwanted paper substitutes and their production into pellets, which are substitutes for plastics, and the remanufacturing of these plastic substitutes to be an “up-cycle” that create products with greater dimensions and value than the original products. The company is working with local governments such as Kanagawa Prefecture and Sabae City in Fukui Prefecture to establish an up-cycle scheme, including a recovery model for LIMEX products, as a leading model for the global recycling-oriented economy (resource recycling system).
The development of biodegradable LIMEX began in 2018. In 2019, it succeeded in commercializing “Bio LIMEX” made using limestone as the main raw material along with plant-derived resin. The garbage bags made from this “Bio LIMEX” were used at the venue of the G-20 Osaka Summit. Our main policy is to promote the use of disposable products as substitutes.