Product containers and packaging play important roles including preserving products and displaying information about ingredients, but after product use, these items become waste. In the “GREEN CHALLENGE 2050” Environmental Declaration,” Seven & i Group is promoting the reduction of the environmental impact associated with containers and packaging by pledging to make 50% of the containers and packaging used in original products (including Seven Premium) consist of environmentally conscious materials by 2030, and 100% by 2050.
At Ito-Yokado, York-Benimaru, and York, we have devised sales methods for fresh food and delicatessen items that reduce the amount of containers and packaging used, such as selling by weight or selling individual loose items. In our delicatessen items sales areas, we are increasingly using paper bags rather than plastic containers for selling items such as croquettes and deep-fried chicken. In some other stores, some products sold in fresh meat sales areas have adopted the method of packing meat for sale in plastic bags without a polystyrene tray.
At Seven-Eleven Japan, the lids on containers of the “Cup Deli” line of salad products have been changed to top-seal types, and the amount of plastic used per container has been reduced by about 25% compared to conventional containers. (Plastic reduction in the fiscal year ending February 28, 2022: about 203 tons*) Moreover, aside from initiatives for product containers, we reduced the amount of oil-based plastic by about 12% compared to conventional materials through our original manufacturing process and the addition of biomass resin to some of the plastic promotional display items in 7-Eleven stores.
Example of packaging without trays（poultry）
“Cup Deli” products with top-seal lids
In July 2015, we changed the paper cartons used for Seven Premium alcohol products from the previous aluminum carton material to a non-aluminum carton material. This change enables the cartons to be recycled as paper cartons. Moreover, the volume of CO2 emissions per carton from the raw material procurement and manufacturing process is around 12% lower compared with the aluminum cartons. Therefore, this initiative has resulted in a reduction in CO2 emissions of approximately 250 tons per year, the equivalent of the CO2 absorbed by approximately 18,000 cedar trees.
The identification mark also changed from the Paper Mark to the Paper Carton Mark
In the fiscal year ended February 29, 2016, Seven-Eleven Japan replaced the original Salad Cup Container sold in the chilled cases of its stores with containers that use environmentally friendly PET made from recycled or biomass PET rather than oil-based PET. Ito-Yokado also uses bioplastics that make partial use of plant-based oil materials for the containers in its cut fruit and boxed lunches.
Example of Salad Cup Container using environmentally friendly PET
Cut fruit inside a bioplastic container
In April 2016, Seven-Eleven Japan introduced rice ink for printing the packaging of rice balls sold at its stores. Rice ink is made from rice bran oil, a non-edible part of the plant extracted from rice bran. This ink reduces the Company’s annual CO2 emissions by around 60 tons compared with conventional petroleum-based inks and is therefore aiding in reducing environmental impact. Moreover, the packaging is also contributing to our efforts to promote local production for local consumption by using domestically produced rice bran oil, which is one of the raw materials.
In December 2016, Seven-Eleven Japan changed to plant-based packaging film and ink for its original bakery products. Compared with the previous oil-based packaging, this has therefore reduced the Company’s annual CO2 emissions by approximately 108 tons.
Product packaging made from plant-derived raw materials and rice ink prints
Since June 2020, Seven-Eleven Japan has switched from conventional plastic to paper containers for “chilled boxed lunches” sold in the Tokyo metropolitan area (gradually expanding nationwide). Through this initiative, there was a reduction of about 406 tons of plastic in the fiscal year ending February 28, 2021 when compared to conventional containers that use plastic, and the target for the fiscal year ending February 28, 2022 is a reduction in plastic of about 800 tons. In addition, by combining paper material for the parts of sandwich packaging that had used film material, we reduced our use of pastic by about 40%.
Paper container for chilled boxed lunches
Packaging that combines paper material within the red frames
Certain Seven Premium cup soups and yoghurt drinks have containers made with Seven Forest thinning materials. Japan has a large number of unmaintained man-made forests that have been left unattended. With many such forests currently not fulfilling their potential as carbon sinks, use of forest thinning materials can contribute to the creation of healthy forests and prevention of global warming. Forest thinning materials are also being phased in for use in the outer sleeve section of the hot cups used for SEVEN CAFÉ, which is sold mainly at 7-Eleven stores throughout Japan.
Products that use forest thinning materials
Ito-Yokado and York are introducing recycled trays manufactured by suppliers that have received Eco Mark certification. In the fiscal year ending February 28, 2022, the introduction of recycled trays reduced annual CO2 emissions by approximately 2,500 tons.
Moreover, in packaging for lifestyle household goods such as Seven Premium Refillable Body Soap, the Group has adopted recycled materials such as those from PET bottles, some of which are recovered at the Group stores.
Packaging made from recycled PET bottle material
Many customers support SEVEN CAFÉ, which is promoting environmental considerations in various ways. For example, forest thinning material is used for the outer sleeves for hot beverages. Cups for iced beverages use a compound material that includes recycled PET. We are also working to cut down our use of limited resources, for example by making cups lighter and thinner. Since the fiscal year ended February 28, 2018, we have developed an antibacterial deodorizer that uses recycled coffee grounds collected from some of our stores. The new product is being used for cleaning at 7-Eleven stores.
Moreover, in November 2019, we introduced straws for use at SEVEN CAFÉ that use the biopolymer “PHBH®” from Kaneka Co., Ltd., which is 100% plant-derived and biodegradable, at approximately 10,000 stores. Additionally, the remaining 11,000 stores have introduced FSC-certified paper straws. We are working to reduce the distribution of petroleum-derived plastic straws at all 7-Eleven stores and promoting eco- friendliness at SEVEN CAFÉ.
Environmentally friendly SEVEN CAFÉ
Antibacterial deodorizer that uses recycled coffee grounds
As a means of curbing the distribution of unnecessary cutlery, such as spoons and forks, for some time now 7-Eleven stores have been asking customers whether they require cutlery with their purchases. Furthermore, beginning with all stores in Okinawa Prefecture (112 as of the end of January 2022), Seven-Eleven Japan introduced cutlery that is 30% comprised of plant-based materials (biomass).
This environment-friendly cutlery introduced in Okinawa Prefecture has been adopted at 7-Eleven stores nationwide in conjunction with the Plastic Resource Circulation Act, which went into effect on April 1, 2022. Going forward, we will further strengthen our efforts to check whether or not customers require cutlery and also work on curtailing petroleum-derived plastics.
Ito-Yokado in March 2022 refreshed the popular, ultra-shape-holding dress shirts under the Group's Seven Premium Lifestyle private brand products. In order to promote plastic-free, plastic shirt packaging clips other than the outer packaging were changed to fiber paper. This is equivalent to 200,000 plastic bottles*1 per year*2 (estimated). Fiber paper is a special reinforced paper as strong as plastic that is produced using a distinct paper making method. In addition to being highly biodegradable due to the nature of paper, its papermaking method is also environmentally friendly and sustainable. Going forward, we are working to make it so that all Seven Premium Lifestyle products can be changed over to use fiber paper.
Changing plastic materials to fiber paper
The Seven & i Group is changing the packaging for the underwear in the Group's "Seven Premium" private brand products to a green nano material in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions when they are incinerated. The Group expects to use approximately 11 million units of packaging with green nano in the fiscal year ending February 28, 2023, with the target of 12.6 million units by 2025.