Model maker is installing drop boxes at arcades across Japan.

Since 1980, toymaker Bandai has been pumping out a constant stream of model kits based on the Gundam mecha anime series. These kits are called Gunpla, with the “pla” being short for “plastic,” the most prominently used material in the scale robots.

Not all the plastic that comes in a Gunpla kit gets used in the model itself, though. Groups of component plastic pieces are often attached to an outer frame, called a “runner.”

▼ Gunpla pieces in their runner pre-assembly

Once the model has been put together, the runner serves no more purpose, and so four Bandai Namco Group companies, Bandai Namco Holdings, Bandai Spirits, Bandai Namco Amusement, and logistics division Logipal Express, are launching the Gunpla Recycling Project. On the consumer side of the project, Gunpla recycling boxes are being installed in Namco video game centers across Japan, where model builders can deposit their no-longer-needed Gunpla runners.

▼ The Gunpla Recycling Project boxes feature the likeness of Gundam mascot robot Haro.

The runners, along with waste plastic from Gunpla production centers, will be collected and used in three different types of recycling, starting with chemical recycling, in which plastic polystyrene will be broken down into styrene monomer which can be used as raw materials for new plastic parts. Other portions will be used for mechanical recycling, in which the plastics are physically crushed into granules for later reformation, and so-called “thermal recycling,” in which waste materials that cannot be recycled are burned as fuel to produce electricity.

Gunpla Recycling Project boxes have already been installed at Namco arcades in Kawasaki and Osaka, and Bandai plans to have them in all approximately 190 locations in Japan in the near future.

Source: Bandai Spirits via IT Media
Top image: Bandai Spirits
Insert images: Premium Bandai, Bandai Spirits
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