In recent years, as mass production, mass consumption, and mass disposal economic systems reach their limits, the concept of a “circular economy” , in which resources are used without being discarded, has been attracting attention around the world. The twelfth goal of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), “Responsible Produce, Responsible Use,” adopted by the United Nations in September 2015, also aims to reduce waste through the efficient use of natural resources and the prevention of waste generation and reuse. Producers are expected to produce quality products that can be used more with fewer resources and for longer periods of time.

On March 11, 2022, “Nikko Company”, a long-established manufacturer of western tableware established in 1908, announced that it had established a technology to recycle bone china tableware as fertilizer, and was certified by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan as a fertilizer.

NIKKO FINE BONE CHINA tableware, which Nikko manufactures in its own factory in Japan, is used in many hotels and restaurants around the world because of its whiteness, translucency, and safety that complies with the Food Sanitation Law. Since tricalcium phosphate, the main ingredient of bone china, is effective as a fertilizer, the company has recycled off-specification tableware produced in the production process and commercialized it as “BONEARTH” phosphate fertilizer. According to the company’s research as of March 2022, this is the world’s first recycled fertilizer in the ceramics and fertilizer industry and major companies.

Sales will begin on April 2, 2022, and will be available in 300g (715 yen including tax) and 800g (1,320 yen including tax) packages. It will be available at Nikko’s official online store and at the actual “LOST AND FOUND TOKYO STORE” in Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.

BONEARTH is a sustainable fertilizer that utilizes chipped and cracked tableware that would otherwise have to be disposed of as industrial waste as a phosphate fertilizer. By recycling waste tableware as a resource in Japan, it is expected to reduce landfill waste and CO2 emissions from the import and transportation of phosphorus. Furthermore, compared to existing fertilizers, it is less likely to leak into the environment, so there is no risk of environmental impact.

As a phosphate fertilizer, the fertilizer is particularly effective for producing a large number of flowers and fruits, and it also works to improve fruit maturity and quality. It is a safe and clean fertilizer that can be stored for a long period of time and has no odor because it is fired at high temperature during the tableware manufacturing process. While too much of ordinary fertilizers can hinder plant growth, BONEARTH has been shown to absorb just the right amount of phosphoric acid as a nutrient. Even if too much is added, there is no worry that it will hinder growth, and because it is sustainable, it can provide plants with a stable supply of nutrients.

Nikko is promoting various initiatives in line with the principles of the circular economy, and as a first step, has begun development, production, and sales of BONEARTH. In the second phase, the company plans to collect its own products used in hotels and restaurants, including the ” sarasub ” subscription service. In the third phase, the company aims to collect a wide range of products, including those from other companies, and manufacture and sell recycled products other than BONEARTH, aiming to recycle more tableware.

While natural resources such as soil and stone, which are indispensable for making high-quality tableware, are being depleted, tableware is recognized as “consumable” at restaurants and hotels, and the amount of waste is increasing as a result of prioritizing introduction costs over strength on the assumption that it will break. Many people may have been disposing of tableware with a sense of guilt.

Nikko is calling for the entire food industry to unite in the recycling of tableware, as its own efforts alone are not sufficient to realize a recycling society. At the same time, the company is also looking for restaurants to cooperate in introducing a tableware recycling model. Interested parties should contact them for more information.

[Reference Site] BONEARTH Bonarth, a beautiful fertilizer created from discarded dishes
[Reference site] Subscription service for pick-up plates
[Reference Site] Press Release: World’s First! Full-toned Nikko Commercializes “BONEARTH” Fertilizer Made from Recycled Waste Water

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