Metal from scrapped shinkansen bullet trains has been recycled into children's baseball bats, which are set to be released in a limited edition in October, according to a Japanese sporting goods firm and a railway company.
Mizuno Corp. and Central Japan Railway Co. said they plan to sell 1,400 bats priced at 14,300 yen ($98) each, with three designs, including one paying homage to the iconic blue and white colors of the Tokaido Shinkansen and markings resembling it.
The second variant looks similar but has a silver hue to it, while the third design, mostly yellow, is modeled after test trains nicknamed "Dr. Yellow."
Baseball and railway lovers can purchase the bats from Oct. 14, known as Railway Day, which is nationally recognized to celebrate railways.
JR Central decommissions bullet trains that are a decade or so old, scrapping seven from the Tokaido Shinkansen Line annually. The retrieved aluminum has so far been purified and then reused as decorations for buildings.
For the bats, metal compositions are altered to ensure the same durability as the conventional metal bats.
The two environmentally conscious companies say data showed around 97 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, a factor contributing to global warming, are cut when recycled in this way compared with making new aluminum.
"We had a hard time recreating the colors of the shinkansen trains but we want to give the kids new dreams and hopes through our products and expand the world of baseball," said Takumi Nakata, a Mizuno Corp. executive officer, at a press conference in Tokyo.
"I'd like children to hit balls at a speed of 285 kilometers per hour," Akihiko Nakamura, a vice president of JR Central, added, referring to the fastest speed of a Tokaido Shinkansen train.