Food & Drink | Food Sustainability in Japan

In an 'eco-friendly' move, Coca-Cola Japan is making its I Lohas PET bottles label-free. Well … some of them. Fortunately there are existing alternatives to make better use of reusable containers.

It’s 2020: Time for Japan to end its reliance on PET bottles

by Patrick St. Michel

Contributing Writer

Japan’s intricate approach to packaging — matryoshka-like, within layers of plastic and paper — used to seem charming. In 2020, however, it now just feels annoying and wasteful.

Companies have started wising up to the realities of the 21st century, launching eco-friendly PR campaigns. One such company is Coca-Cola Japan, which moved to “revamp” its I Lohas bottled water brand earlier this year.

While the new bottles are 100 percent recycled plastic and ditch the plastic label, online reception of this seeming PR grab has been more than a bit critical. A plastic bottle is still a plastic bottle, after all, and not a solution to Japan’s exorbitant plastic consumption.

So what should consumers who actually want to reduce plastic waste do? Invest in a product like Poketle, a 120-milliliter, pocket-sized reusable bottle capable of holding cold and hot liquids, and one of 2019’s breakout hits according to Nikkei Trendy. Or refill an existing container while on the move by downloading and searching on MyMizu’s database of thousands of free refill points across the country. Either is better than grabbing another plastic bottle, label-free or not.

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