Bellmark Programme – empowering schools for carton recycling and environmental awareness in Japan

In 2011, Tetra Pak joined forces with Japan’s Bellmark Foundation, a prominent organisation dedicated to promoting better education. Together, they launched the Bellmark Programme, which involves educational workshops, providing pupils with information about the value of recycling and how to correctly handle packages before recycling them.

Background and initiative – educate and practice

The programme's primary aim was to raise awareness about the importance of carton recycling, educate students about its value, and instil responsible package handling practices. In practical terms, The Bellmark Programme sought to engage schools, students, and communities in carton recycling, cultivate responsible waste handling habits, and foster an understanding of the significance of recycling.

Recycling in Japan

Image: Japanese pupils sorting flattened Tetra Pak cartons

Results – a win-win relationship

The programme spreads information about recycling in a fun and interactive way while contributing to improving carton recycling rates across Japan. Schools participating in the program collect "Bellmark Points" for the cartons they recycle. In return, they receive provisions such as educational materials, library books and earthquake kits .

Since its inception in 2011, the Bellmark Programme has experienced remarkable growth, with participation expanding from a mere 42 schools at the start to over 7,000 schools actively engaged in the programme by the end of 2021. The programme collects an average of 700 tonnes of cartons annually, contributing to the circular1 economy and reducing waste.

Looking ahead – empowering the youth to make a change

The success of the Bellmark Programme highlights its potential for continued growth and impact in promoting carton recycling and environmental awareness. As the programme gains more momentum, it is expected to inspire even greater community involvement, reinforcing a culture of responsible waste management and recycling practices throughout Japan. By empowering young minds with knowledge and encouraging active participation, the Bellmark Programme paves the way for a more sustainable future.

1The circular economy refers to a system in which materials never become waste and are kept in circulation through processes including recycling, reuse and composting. It tackles environmental challenges by decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources. Source:, What is a circular economy?