Japanese firms aim to recycle oily plastic bottles

Two major Japanese food makers have teamed up to solve the problem of recycling oily plastic bottles, and aim to lay the groundwork for a system of reusing the items.

Edible oils are among the main products of Kewpie and Nisshin OilliO Group, which use a combined total of about 5,000 tons of plastic bottles a year.

Oil residue often remains on the plastic after use. Many municipalities do not accept the bottles for recycling.

The two firms plan to collect them with help from recycling companies. They will first wash off the oil, and convert them into potentially reusable materials by crushing or heating them. The food makers will then try ways of making new items from the materials.

Tagashira Yusuke of Kewpie said, "We would like to create a social system to enable resource recycling of oily plastic bottles."

The firms say they will set up collection boxes at stores run by supermarket operator Aeon in Chiba City, near Tokyo.