Japan has long had a love affair with the PET bottle — both full and empty.

The clear, strong and lightweight plastic outperformed aluminum, steel and glass to hold 76% of all nonalcoholic drinks in the country in 2020, according to the Japan Soft Drinks Association (JSDA). And, thanks to a proactive industry, stringent laws and compliant consumers, Japan was among the top countries in the world for PET bottle collection in 2021, at 93%, and recycling, at 89%, according to the Council for PET Bottle Recycling.

Still, growing environmental awareness has put the consumption of single-use plastic under a harsh spotlight. Even with steps to reduce the volume of fossil fuel-derived PET required for new bottles, there remain calls for more to be done.