Tobu Railway and Kirin Beverage cooperate to start ‘bottle-to-bottle’ horizontal recycling

Kirin Beverage Company, in cooperation with Tobu Railway Company, will start horizontal ‘bottle-to-bottle’ recycling, in which used PET bottles are collected and recycled into PET bottles, at 33 Tobu Tojo Line stations from 3 August.

In Japan, used PET bottles are often recycled for a wide range of uses after they are collected, so the proportion of ‘bottle-to-bottle’ recycling is low at 15.7%. Once recycled into PET products other than PET bottles, it is technically difficult to recycle them back into PET bottles. In addition, empty containers in recycling boxes installed next to vending machines are collected by individual businesses as ‘business-related waste’, which is regarded as an inefficient collection scheme. In order to further promote ‘bottle-to-bottle’ in the future, it is necessary to process PET bottles collected from recycling boxes to a quality that enables ‘bottle-to-bottle’ as well as to reduce the costs involved in collection.

Tobu and Tobu Railways have jointly established a scheme to collect PET bottles from recycling boxes installed on the company’s railway lines and a recycling cycle to recycle PET bottles collected on the railway lines back into PET bottles. In this initiative, the Tobu Building Management Corporation will collect used PET bottles from the recycling boxes installed next to the Company’s vending machines at each station on the Tobu Tojo Line, conduct intermediate processing at Kinoshita Friend Corporation, and send them to recycler Toyotsu, which supplies them to PET Recycle Systems Ltd. There, the bottles will be recycled and rPET beverage containers will be manufactured.

In addition, customers using the stations will be educated with posters and other materials to ensure that they correctly understand the purpose of the recycling bins and to reduce the amount of foreign substances in the bins.

The implementation of this scheme is intended to reduce the collection costs of the recycling bins and improve the efficiency of the route to intermediate treatment, thereby realising ‘bottle-to-bottle’ at lower cost.

Following the verification of the results of the initial implementation at 33 stations on the Tobu Tojo Line, it is planned to expand the scope of the initiative in the future to include the recycling bins next to the vending machines installed on all Tobu Railway lines.

In February 2020, the Kirin Group formulated the Kirin Group Environmental Vision 2050, a new vision for strengthening social and corporate resilience, and declared its aim to create a society in which containers and packaging are sustainably recycled. In addition, the Kirin Group Plastics Policy states that 50% of PET resin used in Japan should be recycled by 2027.

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