The Asahi Group strives to save resources, use lightweight products, and improve recyclability from the viewpoint of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle) for containers and packaging materials including PET bottles, glass bottles, caps, labels, and cardboard. We will continue to provide eco-friendly products, thereby contributing to building a sustainable society.
Since 2009, green power is used for Asahi Super Dry cans (350 ml) and all other beer products for gift packs manufactured at all eight plants of Asahi Breweries, Ltd. This is an initiative that purchases an amount of power from wind power, biomass power, and other green energy sources that is equivalent to the amount used to manufacture the these products. As of the end of 2018, a total of 13.1 billion cans of Asahi Super Dry have been manufactured using green power.
With this initiative, we have contributed to reducing an accumulated total of around 94,000 tons of CO2.
Asahi Breweries Ltd. developed a beer 350ml can that is the lightest in its class of products produced in Japan (according to Asahi Breweries Ltd.) as one of the environmentally conscious package development projects done jointly with four can manufacturers. The lightweight 350ml can is about 1g or approximately a 7%*1 lighter at the maximum per can, which is expected to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 11,000 tons*2.
*1 Since the specifications differ depending on the can manufacturer that supplies individual cans, this is the lightest weights achieved: 14.9 g for the current can and 13.9 g for the lightweight can.
*2 The quantity of cans sold is based on the 2017 sales. The value is an expected value calculated assuming that all 350ml cans are replaced with the new ones in 2020.
Before (upper) and after (lower)
Asahi Breweries, Ltd. uses environmentally conscious, lightweight 6-can packs for all 6-can packs manufactured at all of its eight plants. The conventional 6-can pack is designed to support the cans with cardboard in a total of eight locations (at the top and bottom of the four corners). However, with this lightweight 6-can pack, the cardboard is shaped to support the bases of each of the six cans individually, improving the stability of the cans, while using less cardboard than the previous 6-can pack. This has reduced the amount of cardboard used for each pack by approximately 10% (about 4 grams) compared to our previous products. As a result, the amount of annual cardboard used has been reduced by approximately 965 tons, and CO2 emissions by approximately 1,342 tons. In addition, as part of the efforts to realize universal design, the new pack is designed to have an industry-first top opening zipper that can be opened in either direction, while the zipper of the previous products could only be opened from the right side.
Asahi Breweries, Ltd. and Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd. are making efforts to engage in smooth communication with industry bodies focusing on the Brewers Association of Japan and the Japan Soft Drink Association, and also including the Glass Bottle 3R Promotion Association, Japan Aluminum Can Recycling Association, The Council for PET Bottle Recycling and The Beverage Industry Environment Beautification Association.
In 2019, Asahi Breweries, in coordination with Panasonic Corporation, developed the “Tumbler in the forest,” a low environmental impact beer cup made from molded high-density cellulose fiber. Trial deployment is now underway with an eye to providing it in situations where beer-type beverages are consumed at outdoor events or taken out from retail stores. Given the cup’s high level of structural strength and ability to generate a fine bubbly head, Asahi Breweries sees the cup as a reusable beer cup that can be repeatedly refilled at event venues and then taken home as a souvenir, thereby contributing to the reduction of plastic waste.
Molded high-density cellulose fiber is made mainly from the refined pulp of timber extracted during forest-thinning work. It is classified as a combustible paper product.
Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd. has been using Mitsuya Cider 1.5 L PET bottles that use plant-derived materials in a limited quantity since 2015. In 2019, aiming for further environmental load reduction, we will release PET bottles with increased amount of plant-derived materials used for the label: the bottles and caps containing 30% plant-derived materials, and 80% for the labels.
In addition, starting in 2019, we have used rice ink to print the labels. The rice ink uses resin made of the waste produced when oil is squeezed from Japanese rice brans. This will reduce environmental impact, compared with conventional petroleum-based inks. Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd. is the first company in the soft drinks industry that uses rice ink (according to Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd.).
With this initiative, we can reduce CO2 emissions by around 10 tons.
Asahi Jurokucha PET 600 ml
Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd. has introduced biomass-based plastic labels, which are made using cornstarch. Over 50% of the materials in these labels are plant-based ones, which contributes to reducing the usage of petroleum and other fossil fuel resources and decreasing CO2 emissions. Asahi Soft Drinks introduced these labels in 2008 and continues to improve them every year.
Calpis 470 ml “Peace Bottle”
Calpis bottles have been made using 10% plant-based bio-polyethylene.
As the cap, bottle, and label are all made from the same material, there is no need to peel off the label or remove the cap when sorting bottles, making them ideal for recycling.
Since May 2018 we have been selling Asahi Oishi Mizu Natural Water in unlabeled bottles specifically for mail order.
The unlabeled product is intended to reduce environmental loads by reducing waste generated by labels pasted on the PET bottles, and eliminate the work of removing the label prior to recycling. Legally required information, such as ingredients, normally shown on the label, are shown on the carton while mandatory product information such as the recycling logos for individual products are shown on a sticker pasted on the PET bottle or its cap. This reduces plastic consumption for labels by around 90%. In addition to Oishi Mizu, the company expanded the unlabeled product lineup to Asahi Jurokucha, Asahi Rokujo Mugicha, and Mamoru Hataraku Nyusankin (Protecting and Functioning Lactobacillus) in 2019, and is selling them via a wider range of sales channels, mainly mail order and delivery.
Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd. reduced the weight of the plastic bottle for Calpis (34 grams per bottle) by 2 grams in 2019. This initiative offers the prospect of reducing annual plastic consumption by approximately 130 tons.
Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd. started using recycled PET plastic in 2019.
Recycled PET is produced from used PET bottles that have been washed to remove foreign materials and then subjected to high-temperature processing. Making bottles from recycled PET has less environmental impact than making bottles with non-recycled PET.
Asahi Soft Drinks has begun bottling some of its lactic acid bacteria beverages, such as Calpis Water, using bottles made from recycled PET, and will gradually expand its use to other products.
For some of its products, Asahi Group Foods, Ltd. uses paper containers called “Cartocans,” which have acquired Kanbatsuzai Mark certification from the National Federation of Forest Owners' Co-operative Association. This certification is granted to products with a wood content of 30% or higher produced in Japan that contain 10% or more wood from forest thinning. Some of the wood used to make these Cartocans is from thinning in the Asahi Forest that is owned by Asahi Breweries, Ltd.
Since 2018, the Asahi Group Foods, Ltd. discontinued use of display carton packages for Uchino Omiso-shiru (My Home Miso Soup) and Kyono Soup (Soup Days) series and changed to the cardboard packaging that can be displayed directly in the stores. This initiative reduced the area required for transportation by two thirds, improved the load capacity of a pallet by 80%, and reduced CO2 consumption associated with their transportation by 44%.
We have reduced plastic consumption and waste by selling refill packages for some products such as Oshibori Wetty, Suhada Shizuku, and Milufuwa.
Asahi Holdings (Australia) Pty Ltd. has invested in Blow-filling technology (a technology for the in-house production of PET bottles), thereby developing PET bottles with even lighter weight. The company has also introduced recycled bottles.
Above all, 100% recycled PET bottles from the company have reduced CO2 emissions by approximately half compared to conventional bottles. For some products, the company has succeeded in reducing CO2 emissions by 32% in the overall product lifecycle, from manufacturing to refrigeration and sales.
CALSPORIN probiotics (Bacillus subtilis strain C-3102) from Asahi Calpis Wellness Co., Ltd. regulate the intestinal flora of livestock. This product improves feed efficiency, increases livestock size, and also has other benefits. CALSPORIN is currently sold in more than 40 countries worldwide, making it possible to save approximately 660,000 tons of mixed feed grains per year (soybeans, corn, flour etc.) worldwide. The grain saved could be used as food for people, helping to solve the global food shortage problem. According to the estimation by Asahi Calpis Wellness Co., Ltd., assuming that it is used worldwide for feed for livestock, it can produce food for 125 million people. The use of CALSPORIN enables the improved productivity of livestock and contributes to the environment.