Japan's school milk programme has a longstanding tradition, incorporating milk cartons into school lunches since the 1950s, contributing to improved nutrition for children. In 2011, Tetra Pak joined forces with the Bellmark Foundation, a prominent organization dedicated to promoting better education, to launch the Bellmark Program in schools.
The primary aim was to raise awareness about the importance of carton recycling, educate students on the value of recycling, and instill responsible package handling practices.
The Bellmark Program sought to engage schools, students, and communities in carton recycling, cultivate responsible waste handling habits, and foster an understanding of the significance of recycling for a sustainable future.
Tetra Pak and the Bellmark Foundation collaborated to introduce the Bellmark Program in schools across Japan. Schools participating in the program collect "Bellmark Points" for recycling cartons. In return, they receive provisions such as educational kits and library books.
The Bellmark Program not only promotes carton recycling but also instills environmental consciousness in students, encouraging them to embrace recycling as a means of contributing to a greener planet. By involving schools and communities, the program nurtures a sense of responsibility for environmental stewardship among the youth.
Since its inception in 2011, the Bellmark Program has experienced remarkable growth, with participation expanding from a mere 42 schools initially to over 7,000 schools actively engaged in the program by the end of 2021. Through the program, an average of 700 tonnes of cartons are collected annually, contributing to the circular economy and reducing waste.
The success of the Bellmark Program highlights its potential for continued growth and impact in promoting carton recycling and environmental awareness. As the program 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 Program paves the way for a more sustainable future.