Firms to recycle containers to cut plastic waste

Six Japanese firms are launching a business to collect and reuse product containers as part of their efforts to reduce plastic waste.

The companies, including snack food maker Lotte and consumer goods firm Procter & Gamble Japan, will use a platform created by a US startup firm, Loop.

Durable containers, including those made of stainless steel and glass, will be collected at dedicated boxes set up in stores, and sent to the startup firm for cleaning. Product manufacturers will then refill them for repeated use.

Customers will pay a deposit on the containers when purchasing products, and the fee will be refunded when they return them for recycling.

The system will be launched on Tuesday at 19 Aeon outlets in Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Kanagawa and Chiba. The retailer says it plans to increase the number of participating manufacturers, and to sell the products online in the Kanto region.

An increasing number of firms are expected to work together to reduce plastic waste as they view environmental issues as important to their management.

Consumer goods companies Unilever and Kao are jointly developing recycling technology to make new containers from shampoo and detergent bottles.