Japanese firms plan to produce bio-based plastic bottles

A group of Japanese companies is working on developing plastic drink bottles that are not made from any petroleum-based materials.

They say the commercialization of these bottles produced only from bio-based substances would be a world-first.

A substance called "para-xylene" accounts for about 70 percent of the bottles.

Oil wholesaler Eneos says the new technology relies on used cooking oil and other bio-based materials to produce para-xylene.

Eneos says it will begin producing the material at its refinery in western Japan by the end of this year.

Mass production of these bottles is scheduled for 2024. About 35 million would be shipped annually.

Eneos official Soda Tadakatsu said "With our technology, carbon dioxide emissions from petroleum-derived plastic bottles could be almost eliminated."

The new process would raise production costs.
But Eneos says it hopes the effort will help spread the use of clean resources.