News Releases 2007

Gas Impermeability of EVAL Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol Polymer Resin Contributes to the Environment
- From Conventional Applications in Food Packaging and Automotive Fuel Tanks to New Applications in Athletic Shoes -

March 28, 2007
Kuraray Co., Ltd.

Furthering its corporate mission that states: "We in the Kuraray Group are committed to opening new fields of business using pioneering technology and contributing to an improved natural environment and quality of life," Kuraray is contributing to the environment through development and application of its unique functional materials.

One such material is EVAL, which was developed by Kuraray as the world's first copolymer EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol polymer resin). It has the highest level of effectiveness in gas impermeability in plastics. Kuraray holds a 70% share of the world market for this material.

Because of its special characteristics, EVAL contributes to the environment through two main applications:

  • 1) It is widely used in the packaging of mayonnaise, ketchup and similar products as it prevents degradation or deterioration that results from oxygen entering the container.
    Plastic is being increasingly used for food packaging, and the containers are lighter than comparable glass or tin containers. The reduced weight of the containers is lessening the burden on distribution and on the disposal of unused food and in these ways contributes to preservation of the environment.
  • 2) It is being widely used as a barrier layer in the plastic fuel tanks of cars and other vehicles to isolate the volatile elements of gasoline.
    In addition to protecting against the emission of volatile elements into the atmosphere, plastic fuel tanks have also helped car manufactures to reduce the weight of automobiles, contributing to energy conservation.

With the creation of a new application, Kuraray announces that EVAL will contribute to the environment-friendly product development of the U.S. corporation NIKE Inc, which is a leader in its response to environmental issues.

In 2006, NIKE Inc. eliminated greenhouse gases in all of its NIKE Air cushioning, a goal the company has been pursuing for more than a decade to support its own environmental and sustainable product innovation and design goals.

NIKE accomplished this goal with a new proprietary manufacturing technology using Kuraray's EVAL EVOH. The new process enabled NIKE to switch from SF6 and PFC greenhouse gases to more environment-friendly nitrogen in its NIKE Air cushioning.

The process also improved product performance and delivered innovation to consumers, with NIKE introducing the first running shoe featuring full 360 NIKE Air cushioning.

The Kuraray Group is continuing to concentrate on its environmental contributions in other ways as well. Such measures include a revolutionary process to stop the use of organic solvents in the manufacture of the next-generation man-made leather (TIRRENINA) and the provision of a carbon-neutral polylactic acid material developed from corn.

  • * Italicized product names are trademarks of Kuraray.