Japanese manufacturers mainly dealing with the food and beverage industry are increasing their support to the government’s efforts of developing plastic alternatives. They are launching eco-friendly food and beverage packaging and exploring new ways to reduce dependence on plastic. The use of paper packaging and recycled PET bottles is reportedly increasing at a decent rate in Japan. A number of firms have banked on their innovations to contribute to the cause. In May 2019, Suntory Beverage & Food Limited will be awarded the WorldStar Award by the World Packaging Organization for its FtoP Direct Recycle Technology.
“Suntory endorses the Soft Drink Business Plastic Resource Reclamation Declaration 2018 of Japan Soft Drink Association to strengthen initiatives targeting a 100% effective use of PET bottles for zero percent waste in the domestic business of soft drinks,” said an official from Suntory. The company’s new technology helps to manufacture recycled PET bottles and supposedly reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 25%. “The medium-term goal of the company is to employ recycled PET bottles for over half of all PET bottled soft drink products using latest technologies in the domestic soft drink business by 2025,” Suntory’s official continued.
Suntory’s competitor Asahi Beverages also followed the trend and produced 100% recycled PET water bottles, which according to the company will have a 50% lesser carbon footprint compared to that of a regular PET bottle.
Use of biodegradable plastic and paper packaging is on the rise
Plastic producers in Japan are turning their focus to biodegradable plastic, although its cost of production is more expensive than that of regular plastic. Currently, Mitsubishi Chemical is developing straws prepared from biodegradable plastic. Since last October, the company started offering biodegradable plastic cups. Even DuPont contracted Toyobo to produce biodegradable polymers.
Japan’s leading paper manufacturer, Oji Holdings is allocating its resources to the production of paper food packaging. The paper will be coated with special chemicals in order to preserve freshness and keep liquid and oxygen from seeping in. “This product offers the same degree of protection against oxygen as a deposited film and also against water vapor as a general barrier film with just paper,” said an official from Oji Holdings.