7-Eleven Japan to start wrapping onigiri rice balls in bioplastic

Kaila Imada

Japan is notorious for its use of plastic, especially when it comes to convenience stores which tend to wrap pretty much everything in multiple layers or plastic, followed by placing your purchased items (few, many or even it's just one) in another plastic bag. Good news though, it seems like 7-Eleven, one of the most prominent konbini chains in Japan, is looking towards making a big, positive change. 

According to The Japan Times, 7-Eleven is hoping to replace the plastic wrapping on their popular onigiri rice balls with a plant-derived bioplastic 'possibly from July'. The konbini chain produces roughly 2.2 billion onigiri a year, meaning this could be a huge impact in the right direction. 7-Eleven estimates that this move could potentially cut down on 260 tonnes of plastic as well as reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 403 tonnes annually.

We're hoping other convenience stores follow suit. But in the meantime, make sure to follow our guide of handy Japanese phrases to help you politely refuse plastic bags and containers in Japan – and you'll be one step closer to reducing your plastic waste.

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