Use of Sustainable Resources and Prevention of Environmental Pollution

Basic Approach

With the enforcement of the Plastic Resource Circulation Act in April 2022, the importance of recycling plastic-related resources is increasing in Japan. All parties involved in any part of the lifecycle of plastics is expected to work together to reduce plastic products through environmentally friendly designs, reduction of usage, and curbing of their emissions.

FamilyMart is working to prevent environmental pollution throughout its supply chain by reducing and streamlining the use of natural resources and other raw materials, and by preventing and reducing generation of waste. In particular, by reducing plastic use through improved container packaging and switching to materials with less environmental impact, we will also contribute to promoting the formation of sustainable patterns of production and consumption.

As a plastics countermeasure, FamilyMart also promotes the use of environmentally friendly materials for the containers and packaging of our original products. We aim to achieve 60% use of such environmentally friendly materials in our original products by 2030 and 100% by 2050. We also aim to increase the proportion of eco-friendly materials, including for consumable supplies, to 70% by 2030.

Related Goals and Progress

Famima Eco Vision 2050

Initiatives for Products That Use Plastic

Providing Plastic Forks Was Discontinued as a General Rule

To reduce the use of plastic, FamilyMart has stopped providing plastic forks at its stores in principle. However, we fully consider customers’ convenience. For example, if a customer requests a fork, we provide them with bamboo chopsticks. If they are not familiar with chopsticks, we give a fork.

Basic Approach to Plastic Reduction

FamilyMart continues to lessen the amount of plastic used in the spoons, straws, and stir sticks we provide to customers, with the goal of a 50% reduction in the amount of petroleum-derived plastics used by fiscal 2030 (compared to fiscal 2019 figures). For this reason, we are working to reduce the use of such products at our stores by asking customers for their understanding and cooperation.

Sample

Environmentally friendly design of products using plastic

  1. Reduction of weight
  2. Use of alternative materials (wood, etc.)
  3. Inclusion of biomass plastic
  4. Use of biodegradable plastic

Straws (long)

Straws(long)

Implemented: November 2019

Type of measure: ③ Inclusion of biomass plastic

Applies to: All stores

The bendable straws provided for purchased drinks in paper packs, etc. now include biomass plastic.

Straws (short)

Straws(short)

Implemented: November 2019

Type of measure: ③ Inclusion of biomass plastic

Applies to: All stores

The straws provided for purchased drinks in paper packs, etc. now include biomass plastic.

Famima Café straws

Famima Café straws

Implemented: November 2019

Type of measure: ③ Inclusion of biomass plastic

Applies to: All stores

The straws provided for Famima Café iced coffee now include biomass plastic.

Wooden stir sticks

Wooden stir sticks

Implemented: March 2020

Type of measure: ② Wooden product

Applies to: All stores

We have switched to wooden stir sticks for coffee served at the counter. Not only is the stick itself made of wood, but its exterior is made of paper.

Biodegradable straws

Biodegradable straws

Implemented: May 2021

Type of measure: ➃ Use of biodegradable plastic

Applies to: All stores

Elective system* for short straws, straws for Famima Café and biodegradable straws

These straws are made from 100% plant-derived materials that will eventually be microbially decomposed into water and carbon dioxide when exposed to soil, river water, etc. in the natural environment.

Can be used for paper-pack beverages and Famima Cafe iced coffee.

Famima Frappe straw

Famima Frappe straw

Implemented: June 2021

Type of measure: ③ Inclusion of biomass plastic

Applies to: All stores

The straws provided for purchased Famima frappe drinks now include biomass plastic.

Redesigned lighter spoon

Redesigned lighter spoon

Implemented: April 2021

Type of measure: ➀ Reduction of weight

Applies to: All stores

Changing the handle design of the spoon provided to customers who purchase a lunch box, soup, etc. reduced the amount of plastic used by 12%.

Used at FamilyMart stores nationwide since September 2021.

Biodegradable spoon

Biodegradable spoon

Implemented: June 2021

Type of measure: ➃ Use of biodegradable plastic

Applies to: All stores

Elective system*

These straws are made from 100% plant-derived materials that will eventually be microbially decomposed into water and carbon dioxide when exposed to soil, river water, etc. in the natural environment.

Available at Famima!! stores from June 2021, at Tohoku region stores from August 2021 and Kanto region and Fukushima-area stores from March 2022.

*Introduced at the request of member stores

Environmentally friendly design with the use of plant-derived biomass plastic containers

 

Since April 2007, we have been using plant-derived biomass plastic (PLA) for the containers of our mainstay salad products.

The use of PLA containers does not increase the amount of CO₂ in the atmosphere, because the amount of CO₂ consumed by the source plants for photosynthesis is nearly equal to the amount emitted when the containers are disposed of. A trial calculation forecasts that this will reduce approximately 2,402 tons of CO₂ per year compared to petroleum-based plastics (A-PET containers).

In addition, we are working to further reduce our CO₂ emissions by using recycled PET materials made from used PET bottles for the containers of our chilled noodles.

Environmental Circulation of Biomass Plastics

Biomass plastics are made from plants and other renewable organic resources. There are various methods to synthesize resins from intermediate materials, including ethanol, which is obtained through fermentation of sugar, oil and other materials from plants such as sugarcane and maize. Research and development of new resins is being conducted all over the world.

Switching to Side Shrink Package

To pack lunch boxes and other food products, we used to use “full shrink package,” in which we wrapped the entire containers. In February 2014, however, we begin using “side shrink package,” in which film is applied only to the joint between the container and its lid. This switching was completed by February 2015.

This saves plastic materials by 541 tons per year and 1,934 tons of CO₂ emissions (compared to conventional wrapping film). Side shrink packaging has other advantages. It makes contents more visible and everyone, from the elderly to children can open it easily.

Product Initiatives

Introduction of FSC®-certified products for common bags for fried foods

We use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®)’s certified paper, which is made from wood produced in a properly managed forest or recycled resources for our common bags for fried foods, such as Fami-Chiki (Boneless Fried Chicken). Since October 2022, the bags have a certification mark to prove it.

Note) Promotional license FSC® N004180

Packaging Change for Famimaru Kitchen Pouch Salads

The width of our Famimaru Kitchen pouch salads was reduced to 115 mm from 125 mm in June 2022. This change is expected to reduce the use of petroleum-derived plastic by 4.2 tons annually.

Cups for Iced Coffee from Plastic to Paper

In April 2022, Famima!!* stores selling iced coffee are gradually changing the serving cups from plastic to paper and introducing strawless lids, which is expected to reduce the amount of plastic used by six tons (compared with February 2021–January 2022).

*A FamilyMart store brand located within office buildings and aimed at urban workers (44 stores as of the end of February 2022).

Sample

Partial Change of Packaging Film for Hand-rolled Rice Balls to Bio-PP

In April 2022, some of the packaging film for hand-rolled rice balls was changed to Bio-PP*¹ film, and is being introduced progressively in stores in the Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu, and Hokuriku regions. Changing the packaging for all hand-rolled rice balls to include biomaterial compounds is expected to reduce the use of petroleum-based plastics by approximately seven tons annually.

This effort marks the first time in Japan*2 to use bio-PP film in a commercial product using a mass balance approach.*3

*¹ A propylene material made from renewable organic resources such as plants.

*² According to research by ITOCHU Plastics.

*³ In terms of the processes that take a product from raw material through to product and distribution, a method that mixes raw materials with a certain characteristic (e.g., biomass-derived raw materials) with raw materials without that characteristic (e.g., petroleum-derived raw materials) and assigns the characteristic to the product according to the amount of raw material that has that characteristic.

Hand-rolled rice balls

Moreover, in November 2021, we changed the main body of the soup container to an integrated container (plastic/paper) and changed the material and thickness of the lid, reducing petroleum-based plastic to about 15% for each container, a decrease of about 39 tons of plastic annually.

Sample

Thinner Film for Directly-wrapped Rice Balls

From August 2021, the packaging film for rice balls pre-wrapped with dried laver was made thinner and incorporated biomaterials. This reduced the amount of petroleum-derived plastics by about 15% for each rice ball, a decrease of about 70 tons annually.

Directly-wrapped rice balls

A Switch to Pasta Containers with Renewable Resource–Derived Bio-PP

In June 2021, some pasta product containers were switched to Bio-PP*¹  containers, which are made from renewable organic resources such as plants. This effort marks the first time in Japan*² to use Bio-PP film in a commercial product using a mass balance approach.*³

Furthermore, in addition to using renewable raw materials such as waste materials and residues in the agricultural and food industries, as well as waste cooking oil, we have obtained certification from an independent third-party organization for used to secure traceability from raw materials to products.

*¹ A propylene material made from renewable organic resources such as plants.

*² According to research by ITOCHU Corporation.

*³ In terms of the processes that take a product from raw material through to product and distribution, a method that mixes raw materials with a certain characteristic (e.g., biomass-derived raw materials) with raw materials without that characteristic (e.g., petroleum-derived raw materials) and assigns the characteristic to the product according to the amount of raw material that has that characteristic.

Sample

Packaging Shape Change for Sandwiches

Since April 2020, FamilyMart has been using sandwich packaging that is 12.5% thinner, and smaller in size, than conventional packaging; this has reduced our use of petroleum-derived plastic for these products. From April 2022, a design change to the package head from squared corners to a trapezoid shape will reduce the amount of petroleum-based plastic by an additional 12 tons per year.

Sample

Environment-Friendly Containers for All Salad Products

All salad containers (about 30 types) sold at FamilyMart use environment-friendly biomass plastic. This has reduced petroleum-based plastics by about 900 tons annually compared to past years.

Sample

Famima Café’s Environmental Measures

Famima Café has switched to wooden stir sticks from plastic for its counter coffees and also uses a strawless lids for its iced coffee drinks.

The switch to wooden stir sticks saves 0.9 grams of plastic per stick and the strawless lids save about 0.2 grams of plastic each. Taken together, this will result in a reduction of about 110 tons of plastic annually.

Strawless lids

Strawless lids

Wooden stirring sticks

Wooden stirring sticks

100% Recycled PET Bottles

Recycled PET resins from used PET bottles are being used to create 100% recycled PET bottles (bottle-to-bottle) for our private brand Famimaru Collection products, Niigata Prefecture Tsunan Natural Water (600 mL) and Miyazaki Prefecture Kirishima Natural Water (600 mL). The use of this recycled PET resin reduces the amount of virgin PET resin used by about 780 tons annually, while the CO₂ emissions from production are reduced by about 750 tons annually (compared with fiscal 2020).

In addition, the 370-ml bottle for Niigata Prefecture Tsunan Natural Water has been also put into the bottle-to-bottle recycling process. This is expected to reduce the amount of plastic products newly produced from petroleum by approximately 260 tons per year, and CO₂ emissions from the production process by approximately 258 tons per year (compared with fiscal 2022).

Sample

Spoon Handle Design for Reduced Weight

In May 2021, we changed the design for the spoon given that is usually provided to customers who purchase lunch boxes or soup. A revised handle design reduced the amount of plastic in the spoon by about 12%. This reduces plastic usage by approximately 65 tons annually across FamilyMart.

Spoon Handle Design for Reduced Weight

Expansion of Plant-based Inks

We are gradually switching to plant-based inks such as rice ink, botanical inks and vegetable inks for printing on packages for rice balls, hand-rolled sushi, sandwiches, breads, etc.

The use of such ink decreases petroleum use and reduces CO₂ emissions by about 100 tons compared to conventional printing ink, which leads to a reduction in environmental burdens.

Store Operation Initiatives

The BLUE Plastics Project for Plastic Resource Recycling

FamilyMart took part in the planning for Asahi Kasei Corporation’s BLUE (Blockchain Loop to Unlock the value of the circular Economy) Plastics project to build a digital platform to effectuate a resource-recycling society.

Although there has been progress in the reuse of plastic as resource and better use of recycled plastic, it remains difficult for consumers to get a grasp of the recycling chain for products with recycled plastic and to know what products include post-collection recycled plastics.

The BLUE Plastics digital platform allows customers to understand what happens to their used plastic bottles after collection through the use of a smartphone app.

The platform will have customers put their used plastic bottles into collection boxes at FamilyMart stores and use the app to read the two-dimensional code printed on the collection box. The user then registers the number of bottles placed in the box and can check where these bottles are along the recycling chain after collection through the traceability of blockchain technology.

We plan to conduct demonstration tests of the platform at a number of Tokyo stores from autumn 2022 onward.

Blue Plastics

Effective Use of Ocean Plastics

Some raw materials from ocean plastics are being used to manufacture the shopping baskets used at 27 stores. In addition to customer use of these baskets, we inform customers about the reuse of such waste with in-store posters as a way to engage in activities to raise awareness of ocean plastics, which is now a major global issue.

Note: A collaborative development with ITOCHU Corporation and TerraCycle Japan.

Stores that use shopping baskets made with a percentage of recycled ocean plastic.

From February 2021

Nagasaki Prefecture Tsushima Itsukuhara Otebashi store, Iki Ashibe store, Iki Gonoura Higashi store
Fukuoka Prefecture Bayside Place Store

From October 2021

Metropolitan Tokyo Ota Minami-Magome 6-chome Store, Isuzu Honsha-Mae Store
Harumi Center Building Store, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Store, Diamond Gate Ikebukuro Store
Palaceside Building Store, Ichibancho Store, msb Tamachi Store
ITOCHU Building Store, Hamamatsucho Building Store, Hamamatsucho 1-chome Store
Saitama Prefecture Saitama Kencho Store, Saitama Nishibori Store
Chiba Prefecture Makuhari Techno Garden Store, Kaihin Makuhari Station North Exit Store
Niigata Prefecture Sanjo Tsuruda Store, Sanjo Shinbo, Sanjo Chusin Store
Sanjo Tajima Store, Sanjo Senbano Store, Sanjo Osaki store
Sanjo Tsukanome Store, Sanjo Daikanjima Store
Mie Prefecture Mie Kencho Store

Basket

shopping cart poster

Recycling of Closed Store Equipment

When a store is closed, the equipment used around the counter that can be reused is serviced and recycled for use as additional equipment for existing stores or repair replacement equipment. The equipment that cannot be reused is disassembled and separated into devices and raw materials (iron, copper) for recycling.

Closed Store Equipment Utilization

Initiative to Reduce the Use of Plastic Bags

The reduction of plastic bags is not only a reduction of containers and packaging, but also leads to a reduction of CO₂, so it necessary to take appropriate measures considering the nature of the convenience store business. Given this situation and the July 2020 ministerial ordinance requiring retailers to charge for plastic shopping bags, the decline rate at FamilyMart for such bags in fiscal 2022 was 76.6% remaining at high levels.

The only one in the convenience store industry Award for Excellence in the Ministry of the Environment Let's All Reduce Plastic Bags Challenge

Since July 2020, we have been a registered supporter of the Let's Reduce Plastic Bags Challenge organized by the Ministry of the Environment, and have promoted various initiatives to reduce plastic bags together with our customers. In recognition of its efforts, the company was the only one in the convenience store industry to receive an award for excellence in the corporate category in December 2020.

Plastic Bag Decline Rate

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