Starting August 22nd, 2022, the Japanese subsidiary of the US startup company Terracycle, based in Yokohama, initiated a new recycling program within the city. New receptacles, located at two 7-Eleven stores in Yokohama City Hall, are collecting empty jelly pouch containers. These pouches have a plastic straw built into the pouch allowing consumers to suck out the liquid-jelly contents. This packaging was originally popularized by health- and vitamin-focused jelly drinks, but this type packaging caught on quickly, and expanded in scope to now contain all kinds of flavored jelly drinks. Despite being a favorite at Japanese convenience stores nation-wide, there was no dedicated way to recycle their plastic containers. Until now!
This trial recycling project is being carried out through collaboration between Terracycle Japan and Morinaga & Co., Ltd. (Tokyo), and is Terracycle’s first convenience store collection and recycling program. Since 2021, Terracycle Japan has been conducting a jelly-drink pouch collection program at schools nationwide, including in Yokohama City. Now, through the Terracycle jelly pouch recycling demonstration experiment in the “SDGs Future City” of Yokohama, we will be able to see the results of a dedicated recycle drop off program based around local convenience stores.
The goal of the experiment is to collect empty jelly pouches, which will then be processed for recycling and pelletized to be reborn as new resources. Similar to recycling other plastics, consumers are requested to wash out the insides of the pouches before depositing them into the collection boxes, which in the case of pouches requires the pouch to be cut or ripped in half. All pouches are being accepted, regardless of brand. This is a new step in the ever-expanding quest to recycle and process new and different materials and packaging.
The Yokohama City US Office in New York supports overseas startups with their business development in Yokohama, Japan. In January 2021, we held a “Global Sustainability Startup Pitch” event, providing startups with the chance to pitch to a Japanese audience of investors and corporations. Mr. Eric Kawabata from TerraCycle Japan was one of the presenters.
To support sustainable development and a renewable environment, economy and society, Yokohama City will continue to cooperate with companies like Terracycle that are tackling and solving important social issues.