Column

10th Glass bottles of sake
and the environment of the earth
(24 June 2000)@

The law for promotion of sorted collection and recycling of containers and packaging came into force in April in 1997. The purpose of the law is reducing trash and making good use of energy resources.@

Manufactures, local governments and consumers became interested in recycling very much though I don't know whether the law affected them.

Sake breweries had been reusing glass bottles long before the law was enforced and small breweries are reusing them now. The most typical glass bottle for sake is a 1.8 liter bottle which was used since about 1920.

In our company 1.8 liter bottles for bottling sake are all used ones which are washed thoroughly. 300 milli-liter bottles and 180 milli-liter bottles for bar, izakaya and hotels are almost collected and reused.

PET bottles or cans need much energy, because they are resolved into pieces or melted once and recycled after they are collected. And it needs much gasoline to carry collected containers because there are a few recycling factories.

Collected glass bottles for sake are washed by the machine, which removes labels and the dirt in bottles. Reusing glass bottles have far less influence on the environment than recycling other containers.

I want consumers to deal with glass bottles as not trash but resources. Of course, other containers are the same as glass bottles. Giving containers a rinse after you used reduces washing time and energy. Never put cigarette ends into containers.

It is sure that glass bottles are heavier than other containers, but I guess people are accustomed to carrying light things. It is said that physical strength of children has been getting weak recently. It may be because adults pursued convenience.

It is about 6 years since I was engaged in sake business. At first 6 bottles (1.8 liter) in a box was heavy for me, but now 10 bottles (1.8 liter) in a box is not so heavy for me.

The life span of a glass bottle is generally 8 times. When glass bottles are reused 8 times, they crack or split. Though it is much better for the environment of the earth than using a glass bottle once, the life span of a glass bottle is getting longer and longer if you wash the empty bottle.

Let's maintain the culture of reusing glass bottles of sake and the environment of the earth, together.


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