Kirin Beverage is working with Kirin Brewery to develop a technology to make PET bottles using less material and to make them more recyclable. In 2003, the company applied a computer-aided design technique to develop a lighter two-liter PET bottle called a "pecology bottle," the weight of which was reduced to 42 grams from 63 grams in the previous design. Pecology bottles were first used for Alkali Ion Water and then for Nama Cha (green tea) in 2005. The 1.5-liter version was developed for Gogo No Kocha (black tea) in 2008. An even lighter version weighing 38 grams was developed in 2010 and will be progressively applied to all two-liter bottles. The good thing about pecology bottles is that they use less PET, are easy to squash after use, have greater recyclability, and have a universal design to make them easy to hold and pour from. Pecology bottles have evolved through nine generations. They have been made possible by the use of an aseptic filling process performed at room temperature in the production line, which, coupled with sophisticated microbe-control technology, eliminates the need for heat-resistant, thicker and heavier plastic bottles. This filling process has been adopted by our subsidiaries in China and Vietnam, enabling them to produce high-value-added and high-quality soft drink products sold in PET bottles. In an effort to become even more eco-friendly, Kirin Beverage makes plastic caps from a single lighter material and makes plastic bottle labels thinner and lighter.
Kirin Brewery has developed a technology called a "diamond-like carbon coating" to coat the internal surface of a PET bottle evenly with an extremely thin layer of carbon. This coating significantly reduces the amount of oxygen and CO2 that passes through PET bottles. It also minimizes the amount of flavor components that bottles absorb from their contents during storage; this improves the shelf life of bottled green tea sold warm in stores.
Following the development of a high-speed microbe detection device, Kirin Beverage developed a kit to detect the presence of harmful microbes in fruit juice in 2005. As the Japan Fruit Juice Association has endorsed the use of this detection kit as part of its standard testing procedures, it is now widely used in the soft drink industry.