National

Japanese government paper calls for review of handling of plastics

JIJI

In an annual report released Friday, the government stressed the need to review the handling of plastics by offering successful examples of municipal and corporate efforts to reduce plastic waste.

“The time has come when we must rethink how we deal with plastics on a daily basis,” the government said in its 2019 white paper on the environment, a recycling-oriented society and biodiversity, which was approved at Friday’s Cabinet meeting.

The reference comes at a time when awareness of the issue of marine plastic has been increasing across the globe.

The white paper introduced the case of Toyama Prefecture, which was quick to launch a campaign to abolish the free distribution of plastic shopping bags at supermarkets and other shops.

When this campaign started in 2008, the proportion of shoppers in the prefecture carrying their own bags stood at 10 to 20 percent. The proportion now comes to as high as about 95 percent.

The white paper also touched on Coca-Cola (Japan) Co.’s efforts to make plastic bottles lighter in weight and Seven & I Holdings Co.’s campaign to collect plastic bottles at its retail stores for recycling.

Seven & I Holdings and Coca-Cola announced plans earlier this week to use bottles made purely from recycled plastic bottles collected at Seven & I retail stores for a new beverage.

The project is billed as the world’s first in which a tie-up sells a product using a recycled bottle made from bottles collected by those same companies.

Among other companies, Kirin Beverage Co. will introduce bottles made purely from recycled plastic for some products from mid-June.