In this June 18, 2019, photo, a plastic recycling company worker sorts out plastic bottles collected for processing at Tokyo Petbottle Recycle Co., Ltd, in Tokyo. Japan has a plastic problem. Single bananas here are sometimes wrapped in plastic. So are individual pieces of vegetables, fruit, pastries, pens and cosmetics. Plastic-wrapped plastic spoons come with every ice cream cup. But as world leaders descend on Osaka for the two-day G20 Summit that starts Friday, June 28, Japan has ambitions to become a world leader in reducing plastic waste. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Big plastic user Japan fights waste ahead of G-20 summit

June 25, 2019 - 10:20 pm

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has a plastic problem.

Almost everything, from single bananas to individual pieces of vegetables, pastries, pens and cosmetics is sold plastic-wrapped. But as world leaders gather in Osaka for the two-day G-20 summit starting Friday, Japan has an ambition to become a leader in reducing plastic waste.

G-20 nations produce half the world's plastic waste, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will chair the summit, has made fixing the problem a top initiative at the summit and in Japan.

While the leaders try to tackle the global challenge, Japan is beginning to recognize its own difficulties.

One of the world's biggest consumers of plastic packaging, Japan is finally moving to ban plastic shopping bags, a measure already taken by dozens of countries in Europe and elsewhere.

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