The amount of plastic produced worldwide each year could fill every skyscraper in New York. Of the 380 million tons of plastic produced annually, only 1% is biodegradable or made from renewable natural sources rather than fossil fuels. This represents a small, but growing portion of the market.

While alternatives to petroleum-based plastic are still in their infancy in Japan, a number of forward-looking manufacturers are investing in these materials, notwithstanding the initial challenges of such innovations. They hope to make a dent in the ever-growing Japanese market, where plastic production has increased steadily from 7,518 tons in 1980 to 10.67 million tons in 2018.

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