Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

November 30, 2006


Kyoto Starts New System for Reusable Beverage Bottles

Keywords: Government NGO / Citizen Non-manufacturing industry Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

In Kyoto City, beverages started appearing on store shelves in glass bottles marked with a "reuse" symbol in October 2006, as part of a new initiative to promote the repeated use of glass bottles. Under this new system, if consumers return marked bottles to the store where they bought the bottled product, the bottle will go to a glass bottle trader, who washes the bottles collected and delivers them to bottlers to be reused. Consumers can also return glass bottles to collection bins at supermarkets and convenience stores in the city.

Manufacturers who put the symbol on their products are required to declare that they have a policy of giving priority to the purchase of these reusable bottles. The system aims to reduce the amount of waste created, as well as the amounts of natural resources and the energy consumed, by having businesses and consumers fulfill their respective roles.

Reusing glass bottles by washing and using them repeatedly has lower environmental impacts than crushing bottles to recycle the glass. Japan's Containers and Packaging Recycling Law, however, makes it easier for manufacturers to choose single-use rather than reusable bottles, because in the latter case, manufacturers must go through the extra effort of collecting the used bottles to reuse them.

To address this issue, a subcommittee on the reuse of glass bottles was created in 1999 under a committee for the promotion of efforts to reduce waste in Kyoto. The local government, citizens, and businesses participate in the sub-committee, which approached many stakeholders in Kyoto to establish a bottle-reuse system, including manufacturers of sake, vinegar and soy sauce, glass bottle traders who collect and clean bottles, and liquor retailers. As of September 2006, seven manufacturers were participating in the system.

Posted: 2006/11/30 08:50:07 AM
Japanese version