Japanese convenience stores reducing the use of plastics

Charles Chan
Senior Retail Analyst

Date : 19 June 2020

Japan’s three largest convenience stores, 7-Eleven, FamilyMart and Lawson, have stepped up their efforts to reduce the use of plastics.

A mix of short, medium and long-term targets

7-Eleven is beginning to use paper packages for its cold bento boxed meal products. The retailer has already stopped using plastic films and covers for prepared food products, reducing plastic use by 10-25%.

FamilyMart is beginning to use paper and biomass-based packages for salad and yogurt beverages. It is committed to reaching 30% of its products sold in eco-friendly packages by February 2021.

Lawson is using paper packages for iced coffee and other chilled beverages in a bid to reduce the amount of plastic used by approx. 1,100 tonnes a year. It aims to reduce the use plastics by 30% by 2030 from the 2017 level.

Plastic bag fees mandatory from July

The three largest convenience chains will charge customers JPY3 (US$3 cents) for each plastic shopping bag at all its stores from July 1. The government has made plastic bag fees mandatory across the country from July. Matsumoto KiYoshi and some other businesses such as Aeon have already been charging fees for plastic bags since April. The latter has also outlined its commitment to reducing food waste by half by 2025.