Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

August 11, 2007


Convenience Store Chain Promotes Green Activities

Keywords: Eco-business / Social Venture Non-manufacturing industry Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

Lawson, Inc., a leading Japanese convenience store chain, started various new environmental activities in the spring of 2007. For example, they introduced polylactic acid (PLA) containers for salad, and launched a campaign to ask shoppers to carry their own chopsticks and shopping bags, hoping to reduce the use of disposable chopsticks and plastic shopping bags.

The salad containers are made of PLA-based resin made from corn. This is the first attempt by a Japanese convenience store chain to use PLA containers for original goods on a nationwide basis. Lawson started national sales of four kinds of salad in PLA containers in April 2007. The campaign is expected to reduce about 870 tons of CO2 emissions annually compared to using conventional containers.

Portable and reusable chopsticks distributed by Lawson are dubbed "Midori-no-Kakehashi" or "Green Bridge" (a play on words, as hashi means both bridge and chopsticks in Japanese) and made of ash wood (Fraxinus lanuginosa) not good enough in quality to use in manufacturing baseball bats. This kind of wood is considered the best material for baseball bats, but a stable supply is difficult to maintain because these trees grow slowly and plantations have seldom been attempted. For these reasons, protecting existing forests and planting this kind of ash trees are urgent priorities for the Japanese pro baseball world. Lawson will donate 100 yen (about 85 US cents) per pair of portable chopsticks to the National Land Afforestation Promotion Organization to help foster forests of ash trees for baseball bats in Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture and other places.

Lawson has been distributing reusable bags especially developed for convenience store shopping since March 2007. A plastic bottle and a lunch box fit neatly into the bag, which folds up into its own pocket when not in use. Bag distribution was started in stores in Kasumigaseki and Otemachi in Tokyo and is now being extended nationwide. The company plans to distribute 100,000 bags, aiming to reduce consumption of plastic shopping bags by 20 percent from fiscal 2005 levels by fiscal 2008. As of the end of May 2007, the company distributed 75,000 bags.

- Convenience Stores to Cut Plastic Bag Use by 35% by 2010 (Related JFS article)
- Ministry and Retailers to Cooperate for Environment Conservation (Related JFS article)

Posted: 2007/08/11 05:38:23 PM
Japanese version