Packaging waste is an issue the world has been dealing with for a long time. It has also become a major contributor for the most landfill waste (IFT, 2007). To stop this problem, it is critical to establish appropriate waste disposal and recycling systems.
Since 1997, Japan has adopted identification systems for their containers and wrapping which are obligated to recycle (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Japan, n.d.). Japan has special identification markings for each material in order to ease everyone in sorting and disposing the recyclable materials correctly. Based on the types of materials, there are mainly five recycling symbols: paper (紙 or “kami”), aluminum (アルミ or “arumi”), plastic (プラ or “pura”), steel (スチール or “suchiiru”), and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottle. Meanwhile in Indonesia, recyclable goods have not clearly categorized or sorted, apart from plastic materials. International resin identification code, which marks the container from numbers 1 to 7 for respective plastic resin, is mainly found on the plastic packaging used in Indonesia (ASTM, 2013).
In the video, there are 7 groups of foods and beverages that are discussed: horticulture, meat, dairy, beverages, confectionary, and snacks. Both Indonesia and Japan still use plastic materials e.g. polypropylene (PP) for most fresh products (horticulture and meat), as it is known to have protective ability from puncture, moisture, and gases (Allahvaisi, 2012). Moreover, beverage still also use conventional packaging such as Tetrapak and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), respectively. Interestingly, without leaving its functionality, some packaging in Japan are made from recycled materials such as sugarcane bio-based resin for bottled water and recycled paper for biscuit trays.
From the video, we can learn the different practices of recycling systems applied between Indonesia and Japan. Japan has utilized sorting and recycling practices along with the use of innovative and renewable food packaging. As a developed country, this is suggesting a shift for Indonesia to resolve the overwhelming quantity of packaging waste. Let us start with small measures that can make a huge impact on improving the living environment!
Allahvaisi, S. (2012). Polypropylene in the Industry of Food Packaging. Retrieved on June 19, 2019, from http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/37229/InTech-Polypropylene_in_the_industry_of_food_packaging.pdf&ved=2ah UKEwjv5bWjnfXiAhUOU30KHdodBN8QFjAAegQIARAB&usg=AOvVaw1GiAK6kxSu6DniE21A-Bl5
ASTM. (2013). Modernizing the Resin Identification Code. Retrieved on July 1, 2019 from https://www.astm.org/standardization-news/?q=features/modernizing-the-resin-identification-code-ja13.html
IFT. (2007). Food Packaging and Its Environmental Impact. Retrieved on July 1, 2019 from http://www.ift.org/knowledge-center/read-ift-publications/science-reports/scientific-status-summaries/editorial/f ood-packaging-and-its-environmental-impact.aspx
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Japan. (n.d.). The Containers and Packaging Recycling Law.