Referred to as Gunpla (a portmanteau of "Gundam" and "plastic model"), plastic Mobile Suit Gundam models have been a mainstay of Bandai's contribution to the fandom surrounding the iconic anime series. With everything from easy-for-kids to build units to $2,000 models made out of Gundarium Alloy, the Gunpla community has a lot of Gundam models to choose from.

They also, however, accumulate quite a bit of leftover trash. In particular, Gunpla hobbyists end up with a lot of "runners", which are the frames that border and hold the actual pieces used for modeling in place.

Hobbyists now have a good reason to hold onto those runners, as the Bandai Namco Group has announced a new initiative called the Gunpla Recycling Project. Starting April 1st, special collection recycle boxes for runners will be installed at about 190 amusement facilities directly operated by NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. such as arcades. Here model makers can dump off their leftover runners.

From there, Bandai will collect the unused runners and run them through "chemical recycling," in which polystyrene, the plastic mainly used for plastic models, will be thermally decomposed and converted back into styrene monomer, the raw material for the plastic. This will allow the recycled runners to be transformed into new commercial Gunpla parts. Bandai also intends to use the runners to conduct research into chemical waste and finding other eco-friendly uses.

So if you're in Japan and don't know what to do with your stack of runners, it's the Gunpla Recycling Project sounds like a great way to take them off your hands while helping out eco-friendly improvements to the modeling industry--as well as an excuse to take a trip to an arcade.

By - Big Neko.