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Suntory Pursues “Bottle-To-Bottle” Plastics Project

August 19, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
After China’s 2017 decision to stop importing other countries’ plastic waste, Japan needed to quickly find alternative destinations for its waste in regions like Southeast Asia. However, Malaysia and the Philippines have followed China’s lead and vowed to turn away shipments of plastic waste, unwilling to serve as dumping grounds for first-world garbage. Japanese leaders are considering a number of potential solutions to the growing problem, including boosting the capabilities of incinerators to burn plastic refuse as fuel for generating energy, and increasing the recycling of soft drink bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Suntory has become the first major Japanese beverage company to move toward closed-loop recycling when in May it announced an initiative to use PET drink bottles made completely from old containers. It is partnering on the project with Kyōei Industry, which has developed a method for creating high-quality PET resin from recycled plastic bottles. The bottle-to-bottle movement gained momentum after a 2009 study showed that manufacturing PET bottles from used plastic emits 63 percent less CO2 than using petroleum does.[Image Credit: © SUNTORY HOLDINGS LIMITED]
Miyake Reiko, "Refuse to Resource: Suntory’s Bottle-to-Bottle Initiative to Reshape Plastic Recycling", Nippon.com, August 19, 2019, © Nippon Communications Foundation
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