When we released our first biodegradable single-use glove 10 years ago, we considered it as the first step in our efforts towards sustainability. As we are extending our EBT (biodegradable technology) glove range, our offices and factories are running projects to reduce their carbon footprint. At our headquarters in Himeji, or in our factory in Malaysia, or even through our retails products in Japan, we are getting closer to sustainability. And this is only the beginning.
SHOWA Japan in Agriculture: contributing to the local community by using idle land in the area to produce and sell vegetables.
In the vicinity of our Headquarters in Himeji, Japan, where SHOWA was born, we have decided to extend our activities by giving a new life to farmland.
The declining of the population due to the falling birthrate and aging society is a major challenge in Japan. One of the consequences is the increase of abandoned farmland. We decided to act by entering a new sector; agriculture. Firstly, to take care of our birthplace but also to support the local economy and create a sustainable future for our company and employees.
The goal is to lease local fields and make an effective use of them. We are making a plan to grow and process and distribute the crops for frozen food and meal delivery. On top of that, we will create a restaurant as a “place” where locals can gather.
We won’t stop here. An employee cafeteria will see the light. We believe that a “place” for people to gather will create bonds and lead to a sustainable future. We hope that the bonds of the smallest unit of community, the family, will expand through the “place” leading to the revitalization of the community.
6 actions in our factory in Malaysia for more sustainability
- High density insulation in air heater oven to reduce heat loss.
The reduction of heat loss will contribute to reduce our gas consumption, and subsequently the reduction of CO2 emission.
- Change of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) to natural gas (NG) in our operation. Natural gas delivers better performances when it is delivered through pipes and generates less CO2 when burned.
- Transporting chemical from ‘drum’ to ‘tanker’ truck as some chemical drums might be classified under scheduled waste when they are emptied. Usage of steel drums could be reduced as chemical will be pumped out from tanker trucks to underground tanks.
- Usage of LED lamps in the factory to reduce electricity consumption.
- Usage of gas detector to identify natural gas leakage at our gas piping/joint to reduce the gas waste and air pollution.
- Usage of air pollution control equipment such as mist collector and scrubber to limit a variety of different pollutants from entering the atmosphere.
Solar panels for our Headquarters in Himeji, Japan
Sustainable packaging with biomass
In Japan, our gloves are sold in the retail market. For household gloves, we are using a packaging composed of 10% of Biomass.
Biomass is a plant-based material made of organic waste. Mostly used in heat or electricity production, we can see more initiatives to create biobased products such as packaging.
Products using biomass are considered carbon neutral. The plants grew and absorbed carbon from the atmosphere.
On our packaging, you can see the usage of biomass used (see picture). The packaging material and the ink printed contain 10% of biomass. To keep it local, the biomass and our vendors providing the material are in Japan.
The carboard box is made of FSC certified paper and produce in Japan.
A decade of sustainability with our biodegradable EBT
As we acknoledged the increase of the single-use glove, the urge of working on a more sustainable product was inevitable.
In 2012, SHOWA launched the first glove with EBT (Eco Best Technology). This proprietary technology make our nitrile glove biodegradable. Before production, we had EBT material to the nitrile. After use, and in a controled environement, when the glove is disposed, it can achieve 82% of biodegradibility in 386 days, due to microorganisms feeding on the glove.
For us, for you and the planet, it makes a big difference. In the time span of 5 years the glove is fully biodegraded where as a 100% nitrile glove with this technology will take over 100 years to achieve the same result.