●Introduces a new logo for all PET bottles used in Japan
●One in two plastic bottles to become 100% recycled PET by end of 2022 in Japan
●Accelerates expanding its technology applied in Japan to other regions
New logo which will be introduced in all PET bottles used by Suntory Beverage & Food Japan
Tokyo, Japan (January 28, 2022) – In order to achieve Suntory Group’s ambition to use 100% sustainable PET bottles globally by 2030 by using only recycled or plant-based materials and achieving zero use of virgin petroleum-based materials, Suntory Beverage & Food will aim to make one in two PET bottles used in Japan to be made from 100% recycled materials by volume.
Starting March 2022, Suntory Beverage & Food will gradually introduce a new logo “Bottles are resources! Towards a Sustainable Bottle” on all of its PET bottles*1 in Japan to communicate to consumers that PET bottles are resources that can be recycled many times, and strengthen its communication to consumers.
Furthermore, to accelerate efforts to achieve its 2030 fully sustainable PET bottle ambition globally, the company will expand relevant technologies and knowledge acquired in Japan to other countries in collaboration with its group companies in each region.
Suntory Group has been actively promoting “bottle to bottle” horizontal recycling*2 in Japan by introducing the first 100% recycled PET beverage bottle*3 in the country in 2012 and developing the world’s first “F to P Direct Recycling Technology”*4 which has lower CO2 emissions than other conventional mechanical recycling technologies. In 2019, the Suntory Group established the “Suntory Group Plastic Policy” and unveiled its ambition to aim for 100% sustainable PET bottles used globally by 2030, by using only recycled or plant-based materials and achieving zero use of virgin petroleum-based materials.
*1 Excluding label free bottles
*2 Recycling method where a used product is used as a feedstock to make the same product
*3 First 100% recycled PET bottle made from mechanical recycling
*4 Jointly developed by 4 companies such as Kyoei Sangyo
Below are some of Suntory Beverage & Food’s recent developments and plans on promoting a plastic circular economy, which includes the development of sustainable materials, adoption of circular processes, investment to pioneer advanced technologies and promotion of behavioral change for consumers.
Use of 100% recycled PET bottles in 2021
In 2021, Suntory Beverage & Food Japan used 100% recycled PET bottles in 37% of its PET bottles by weight. 100% recycled PET bottles are used in all GREEN DA KA RA Barley Tea 650ml and 600ml bottles and in over 60% of Suntory green tea Iyemon brands and CRAFT BOSS series. The company also switched all returnable glass bottle products used for on-premise to 100% recycled PET bottles.
In 2021, Suntory Beverage & Food jointly developed a new adhesive label glue with TOYOCHEM, which leaves less glue residues on bottles. This was developed based on customer feedback on making the label easier and cleaner to take off when sorting used PET bottles. This new label glue also makes it easier to recycle PET bottles as it is expected to improve the quality of used PET bottles through the cleaning process, thus contributing to “bottle to bottle” horizontal recycling. In December 2021, the company succeeded in creating its first prototype bottles made from 100% plant-based materials through a joint partnership with a US-based sustainable technology company Anellotech, placing the company one step closer to commercializing 100% plant-based PET bottles that does not affect the food supply chain. Furthermore, R Plus Japan, a joint venture to develop a chemical recycling technology using mixed plastic waste, has expanded to 32 partner organizations to date from the initial 12 at the time of establishment in 2020.
Collaboration with stakeholders
In order to promote “bottle to bottle” horizontal recycling, the company has also led various initiatives to educate consumers such as by collaborating with local municipalities near its plants as well as with Waseda University. Since 2020, the company has been collecting sorted used PET bottles from Waseda University, and in 2021, the two signed a “Memorandum of Understanding to Achieve a Circular Economy” and have been conducting educational activities and joint research. In addition to its partnership with Waseda University and its affiliated high school, the company has also developed and conducted educational programs in partnership with Seiryo Junior High School and public elementary schools in Minato ward in Tokyo.
In 2022, Suntory Beverage & Food Japan plans to introduce more than 50% recycled contents by weight in its PET bottles used in Japan and make one in two PET bottles be made from 100% recycled materials by volume. This year, the company will switch part of its label-free products to 100% recycled PET bottles and continue to increase the use of 100% recycled PET bottles in various products.
Starting this March, Suntory Beverage & Food Japan will gradually introduce a new logo “Bottles are resources! Towards a sustainable bottle” on all its PET bottle labels. The aim of this new logo is to communicate to consumers that PET bottles are not wastes but are resources which can be recycled many times if sorted and collected properly after use and to show the company’s strong will to contribute to achieving a circular and sustainable society by introducing 100% recycled PET bottles. The company will also continue its effort to change consumer behavior by strengthening various means of communication.
To achieve the 2030 fully sustainable PET bottle goal, Suntory Beverage & Food Europe aims to achieve 50% recycled contents in its PET bottles by 2025 or sooner.
Suntory Beverage & Food Europe brand Ribena was the first soft drinks brand in the UK to use a 100% PET bottle made from recycled plastic in 2007.*5 The company has been increasing its use of recycled plastic - in 2021 this included the introduction of 100% recycled PET in May Tea and Pulco in France.
*5 Excluding cap and label
In addition to its 100% recycled PET bottles, last year, Suntory Beverage & Food Europe, in partnership with Suntory Group’s experts in Japan, redesigned its Ribena bottle, removing its full sleeve wrap and replacing with small roll-fed labels to optimise it for bottle to bottle recycling. This has removed 202 tons of plastic annually from the brand’s production.
In 2022, Suntory Beverage & Food Europe will use 100% recycled PET bottles in its Lucozade Sport brand in the UK and Ireland and also reduce its bottle sleeve wrap by 50%. In total the changes will remove 3,500 tons of virgin plastic and 9,000 tons of CO2 annually. This is part of the company’s goal of designing for circularity, ensuring all packaging is fully recyclable by 2025 or sooner.
New Ribena, May Tea, Pulco and Lucozade Sport bottles
Suntory Beverage & Food Europe is also investing in a French green biotech company Carbios’ enzymatic PET recycling technology through a consortium with L’Oréal, Nestlé Waters and PepsiCo. Carbios’ optimized enzyme breaks down any kind of PET plastic (regardless of color or complexity) into its building blocks, which can then be turned back into like-new, virgin-quality plastic. In June 2021, Carbios produced the world’s first food-grade PET plastic bottle prototypes made entirely from enzymatically recycled plastic which was showcased in the company’s Orangina brand. In September 2021, Carbios successfully launched a demonstration plant and aims to build an industrial facility by 2025. These ground-breaking milestones are key building blocks in Suntory Beverage and Food Europe’s roadmap to achieve full circularity for its beverage packaging.
Suntory Beverage & Food Asia Pacific, with its main operations in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, faces many obstacles in achieving Suntory Group’s 100% sustainable bottle ambition, with countries that prohibit the use of recycled plastic contents in food containers and weak infrastructure for collection of used plastics.
Given these circumstances, the company has been actively introducing technologies acquired in Japan to reduce the amount of plastic used. As of 2015, PET bottles used in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam weighted over 20 grams, and in 2020, the company introduced the world’s lightest heat-resistant PET bottle*6 of 15 grams in Thailand as a common standard across Southeast Asia region and are ready to roll out in Vietnam in 2022 and Indonesia in the near future.
*6 For 320ml and 450ml sized bottles (based on the company’s own research)
In addition to reducing the amount of plastic used, the Suntory Beverage & Food Asia Pacific is also strengthening its efforts on recycling and plans to introduce the company’s first 100% recycled PET bottles in Vietnam in 2022. Furthermore, the company is enhancing various efforts such as promoting waste segregation and recycling of PET plastic in Thailand in partnership with Wongpanit, a leading recycling and waste management company in the country, by building motivation in consumers’ minds by purchasing used PET bottles back at a higher price than the market. In July 2021, Suntory Group has signed a partnership agreement with Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit organization with a mission to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges, to participate in their beach cleanup in Southeast Asia in 2022.
Furthermore, Suntory Group is currently considering expanding the world’s first “F to P direct recycling technology” that it has developed in Japan in 2018 to other countries. It is currently customizing this technology so that used PET bottles that are different in quality from those in Japan can be recycled into food grade PET bottles so that it can start operating by around 2024.
In order to contribute to creating a sustainable society, Suntory Beverage & Food will strengthen its efforts as a leading company in the beverage industry in making plastic bottles sustainable.