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Soft drink makers and plastic bottle manufacturers have decided to cease production of colored plastic bottles to facilitate recycling, officials of a recycling organization run by the makers said Monday.

The Tokyo-based Council for PET Bottle Recycling will take one year to put the decision into practice, they said.

Under the Containers and Packaging Recycling Law, used plastic bottles are collected and sorted for recycling. The bottles are reduced to fragments to be reused for making such items as textile goods, hangers and trash boxes.

Blue and green plastic bottles have been allowed, as an exception, to protect the contents from ultraviolet light, which adversely affects the quality of some drinks.

However, colored bottles have been found to be unsuitable for recycling, and as they have to be separated by hand, extra labor was required, increasing costs.

The makers will instead cover some bottles with easily peelable perforated material to keep out ultraviolet light.

Some 360,000 tons of PET bottles are believed to have been produced last year.

The recycling rate of such bottles in fiscal 2000 is estimated at 31 percent, but the figure is expected to exceed 50 percent by fiscal 2004, according to the council.

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