Convenience stores take steps to cut plastic waste

Japanese convenience store chains are taking steps to reduce plastic waste by switching to paper packaging for certain take-out food items.

A number of Lawson outlets have already started using paper containers for some rice bowl dishes. The chain plans to expand this to around 6,400 outlets by May. It expects the move will reduce plastic waste by about 250 tons per year. The chain will also use paper cups for iced coffee instead of plastic.

FamilyMart is making similar moves. It began selling a grilled salmon dish in a paper box in March. Only the lid is plastic, so use of the material is reduced by about 40%. The chain plans to use the new packaging for three other types of meals this month.

The amount of plastic discarded in Japan has increased as more people buy cooked meals instead of dining out amid the coronavirus pandemic.