Sustainable recycling of containers and packagingRecycling

Recycling of PET bottles

The Kirin Group promotes the recycling of PET bottles as a member of the Council for PET Bottle Recycling. Under the Council’s Fourth Voluntary Action Plan (FY2021-FY2025), we are working toward a target recycling rate of at least 85% (base year: FY2004). In July 2021, we began trialing the collection of used PET bottles at convenience stores using the proprietary bottle recovery machine we developed.

  • Figure: Flow of recycling of PET bottles

Recycling of glass bottles

We turn old returnable glass beer bottles that can no longer be reused and one-way bottles which are used only once into cullet, for use primarily as the raw material for making new glass bottles. We are pursuing uses for cullet made from colored glass, which cannot easily be re-used for glass bottles. We are expanding potential ways to recycle this material for other applications, including in building materials such as tiles and blocks and road paving materials.

Recycling of cans

The Kirin Group is pursuing the adoption of aluminum cans that use a high rate of recycled metal. We have also joined the Japan Aluminum Can Recycling Association, and we are providing assistance for the collection of used aluminum cans as a way to promote their recycling.
Can manufacturers recycle aluminum cans discarded at breweries and use them as 100% aluminum cans for beer.

  • Figure: CAN-to-CAN flow

Collection of used containers at vending machines

For vending machines installed by Kirin Beverage, the company conducts a comprehensive operation, from proposal and refilling of merchandise to service and repair of the vending machines. In addition, as an environmental initiative, we collect the empty containers and even clean the area around the vending machines.

Voluntary collection of aluminum cans

The Kirin Group supports the collection of used aluminum cans by can manufacturers. Can manufacturers collect more than 40,000 tonnes of aluminum cans via these activities, all of which are recycled back into new cans, which Kirin uses for its products.

  • Bags for recycling provided by Kirin Brewery

Promotion of recycling in Australia and New Zealand

Lion has established the “Sustainable Packaging Strategy” to promote recycling. “Lion's Sustainable Packaging Project Steering Group,” which Lion established to promote this strategy, has set the following targets.

As glass accounts for the highest proportion of Lion's material inputs, Lion is working closely with its supplier to increase the recycled content of bottles.
Lion will promote activities to achieve these targets, which are aligned with those of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO).

  • Increasing recycled content to at least 50% by 2025. 100% of Lions packaging material to be reusable. recyclable. or compstable by 2025. A commitment to zero avoidable waste to landfill by 2025.

Lion’s role in Container Deposit Schemes

Australia has Container Deposit Schemes in six of its eight states, and both remaining states have announced that they will implement this system in the future. Victoria and Tasmania are expected to commence schemes in 2023.
Lion plays an important role in Australia's Container Deposit Schemes. For example, in South Australia and the Northern Territory, Lion holds a majority of the shares of Marine Stores, a collection coordinator that aggregates collected materials for reuse and recycling. Lion also participates in Exchange for Change (EfC), a joint venture that coordinates the New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory Container Deposit Schemes.
In Queensland and Western Australia, Lion participates in the administration and operation of Container Deposit Schemes as a member of the Container Exchange (QLD) Limited (CoEx) and WA Return Recycle Renew Limited (WARRRL), which were established and appointed as Producer Responsibility Organizations. Lion is a member of the nonprofit entities VicRecycle and TasRecycle, which intend to submit proposals to act as the coordinators of the Container Deposit Schemes in Victoria and Tasmania.
In New South Wales almost nine billion bottles and cans have been returned in less than four years of the scheme being in place, and there are currently 621 return points operating. The Queensland Container Deposit Scheme has been operating less than three years with nearly 5.4 billion containers returned and 341 return points in operation. The Western Australian Container Deposit Scheme commenced on October 1, 2020, and almost one billion containers have been returned. The South Australian scheme has been operating for over 40 years and recent reports stated the return rate of beverage containers sold is approximately 76.9%. In 2022, the South Australian government is considering improvements to modernize the scheme and further increase the rate of return. Lion is working with the state government to support the development and implementation of improvements. In the Australian Capital Territory, more than 270 million containers have been returned and recycled since the scheme began operating in December 2017. The Northern Territory scheme had a total return rate of 72% of containers sold.
New Zealand is also currently holding public consultations in relation to the implementation of a Container Deposit Scheme, which is expected to commence in 2025.

*The above information is reprinted from the Kirin Group Environmental Report 2022 and is current as of June 30, 2022.