Circular Economy for Zero Waste

February 16th, 2023

The Innovation Center's vision of a recycling-oriented society “Circular Economy for Zero Waste”

circular economy

Circular Economy is an economic activity based on a value chain that focuses on "material circulation. Currently, a resource circulation loop has been formed with local optimization of specific recycling and reuse. The ideal is to realize "Zero Waste," that is, to form a loop that optimizes the entire value chain, thereby reducing waste to zero. The "technology of measurement" in the Circular Economy is beginning to be advocated as necessary to realize this ideal. From now on, we believe that visualizing the recycling process by "measuring what not to discard" and increasing the resolution of what to discard and what not to discard will become "Circular KPI" and realize a greater recycling-oriented society through co-creation.

So, what exactly does "measuring not throwing away" mean?  It can be broadly divided into three concepts.


1)Measuring the criteria of "Should I discard now?
The first is to visualize the degree of deterioration of used materials. Some items that have reached the end of their useful life can be reused. but the state of deterioration varies. By measuring the degree of deterioration, it is possible to determine whether to discard or not, thereby encouraging reuse. For example, plant membranes and filters may not need to be replaced in some situations, depending on usage. The life of a building should also be considered in terms of its components, not in its overall application.

2)Measuring the "Path to Avoiding Discard"
The second is to visualize the optimal process for recycling. If we can measure the percentage of discarded materials that can be recycled, we can contribute to yield improvement in recycling processes such as plastic recycling. In addition, if the composition of waste can be measured correctly, an eco-system for recycling can be established, leading to overall optimal recycling for society as a whole.

3)Measuring the "Had not been discarded as a matter of fact.”
The third is to visualize the origin of reproduction. By measuring the origin of items used as raw materials and visualizing their potential like a food eco-score, it is possible to determine recycled resources with a high degree of objectivity. An example is the measurement of carbon intensity to distinguish between petroleum-derived methane and recycled methane. It is possible to clarify the criteria for determining which raw materials are suitable for a recycling-oriented society. It can lead to better use of reusable resources, like the EcoScore for food products.



What Yokogawa hopes to achieve is to connect the small circle of a recycling-oriented society to the larger circle by promoting reuse and recycling through "measuring what is not discarded. Yokogawa's "power to measure" will accelerate co-creation toward the realization of a "Circular Economy for Zero Waste" by providing "Circular KPI" for a recycling-oriented society.



Research Themes

◇Adaptive physics model for recycling chemistry
Chemical recycling, which is horizontal recycling*1, is necessary to realize a Circular Economy in the plastics sector. Since only about 10% of plastics are recycled in Japan and export of waste plastics is becoming increasingly difficult, the development of process licenses related to the plastic circular economy is being actively pursued. This research theme targets the visualization of depolymerization reactions in the chemical recycling process and improves the prediction accuracy of process models by combining statistical models with physical models of the process. This will contribute to the creation of an ideal Circular Economy by creating value through energy conservation, yield improvement, and yield enhancement in the recycling process.


Methanation is a technology that produces methane from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Methane is used as fuel and emits carbon dioxide, which is then reincorporated into the methanation to create a carbon recycling process. The objective of this research theme is to increase the rate of this methane production to create a practical methanation cycle.

※1 Horizontal Recycling
A recycling process in which the process is individualized according to the IV value, which represents the intrinsic viscosity of PET resin, and the resin is broken down into monomers and then re-polymerized. One feature is that it is recyclable even if it is not made of a single material.



・What's next for our planet? Future Scenario for a Flourishing Circular Society

・Yokogawa's vision of future scenarios - Future scenarios in 2035 - A journey through time