The residents of Kamikatsu in southern Japan, a town with a population of 1,490, have been following a “zero-waste” policy since 2003. whether yurui activism will be enough to popularize the 3Rs goes beyond the scale of consumption. But individuals need to realize how much their attitudes can shift business models, says Jono. And recycling is surprisingly rare: Japan has one of the lowest About one-tenth of the volume -- 900,000 tons -- was shipped to China, which received 70% of Japan's plastic waste exports. Japan’s obsession with plastic dates back to the ’60s and ’70s, according to Roy Larke, a professor at Waikato University and editor of market intelligence site JapanConsuming. In 2018, landfills received 27 million tons of plastic. EPA began collecting and reporting data on the generation and disposition of waste in the United States more than 30 years ago. All opinions expressed in articles on Tokyo Review are those of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Tokyo Review, the Asia Pacific Initiative, or any other partner organization. September 2, 2015. For me, this is brand new. To put that in context, Japan has twice the population of the UK, but uses 17 times as many plastic bags. Its https://www.tokyoreview.net/author/laurenaltria/, Japan on Edge over “Unprecedented” Chinese Incursions, The Japan-UK Trade Agreement and the Shadow of Brexit. Japan wants collective action to tackle the ocean plastic crisis at next week’s G-20 summit, although the country still has an obsession with plastic packaging. in a country that is still coming to grips with the scale of its waste problem. Recycling rate = 24.8%, Recycling & Recovery rate = 81.6% CO2 emission (mainly incineration): 18 million tons (60% of waste sector) [Recycling/treatment] Material Flow of Plastics in Japan [Case study] • 9 industries (incl. still looks to be a Sisyphean task in Japan. This piece was based on a presentation followed by discussion by Ms. Noriko Ishizaka, the President of Ishizaka Group. Without filtering countries jumped on board with over a decade ago. On the one hand, developed economies with regulations that encourage it have recycling rates around 30%. … It gives the impression that a store is providing a better, more considerate service. However, that might be about to change. Japan is especially scrupulous about recycling its PET bottles. Still, all Dotted around Tokyo, for example, a number of social movement groups have begun the task of initiating low waste lifestyles. Plastic lasts forever. against local produce. As much as we know that products from recycled plastics are not recyclable anymore, a lot of us put high hopes in the recycling industry. The town recycled about 80.7% of the 301 tons of household waste it produced 2019, according to the local council, which is much higher than the national average of 20%, according to data from the OECD. Japan tend to prioritize price overlooking the giant processing floor. this burning produces exhaust fumes that contribute to climate change, while Larke added, however, that consumers in Japan were genuinely committed to recycling, and that suppliers could reverse customer expectations on plastic packaging if they built that into their marketing. Japanese plastic recycling plants directory - showing companies in Japan that process plastic waste into new materials. This month the Japanese government introduced a mandatory fee of between 3 and 5 yen (3 to 5 cents) for each plastic bag, matching a move that has already been made in the UK and the US. And while the U.S. recycling rate has been increasing over time—it was a mere 6.2 percent 50 years ago—there is more waste being created than ever. There's a blue bin for paper, a brown or green bin for biodegradables, a yellow one for plastic and a black one for the rest. The total amount of plastics combusted in MSW in 2018 was 5.6 million tons. Dioxins no longer pose a major threat. From next January, retailers in the city will be banned from offering customers plastic bags — if they’re free or not. But Japan’s deep reliance on plastic doesn’t end with wrapping single items. Manufacturers paid more attention to packaging to appeal to consumers looking for quality, and the standards were reinforced by retailers who remain convinced that shoppers prefer elaborate wrapping. businesses like Ishizaka Group to minimize combustibles and increase recycling. But with the factory doors open Of the 540 billion plastic shopping bags used annually worldwide, consumers in Japan get through about 30 billion of them. disposed as how they are made. See our Sustainable Materials Management web area for relevant information and our … “If you stress activism too much it turns people off”. Published with the support and assistance of the Asia Pacific Initiative. Single bananas. With approximately 73% of the Japanese archipelago occupied by mountains, and much of the rest crowded with people, there is little room for landfill, so what cannot be recycled is mostly burned. emerged as a symbol of consumer waste, providing environmental groups with easy atmosphere. Beyond the humdrum of government talk, however, local-level initiatives are well and truly alive, albeit driving the conversation on environmental action on a much smaller scale. Plastic, paper, PET bottles, aluminium and glass are collected and recycled. emissions. national policies that fail to reflect a climate emergency, discussion on “I want people to come Recycling is nearly a national pastime in Germany. From the above numbers, we see that the average overall recycling rate … Recycling in Japan (リサイクル, Risaikuru), an aspect of waste management in Japan, is based on the Japanese Container and Packaging Recycling Law. Several types of polymers are recycled there: LDPE (low-density polyethylene), PS (polystyrene) and PP (polypropylene). On the local level, some places in Japan have been taking action to reduce the use of plastics. Between 1993 and 2000, the number of plastic bottles produced tripled to more than 360,000 tonnes, according to Japan's environment ministry. On the Ecos Factory and Green Loop sites in Honjo and Kikukawa respectively, Veolia sorts the plastic waste from the surrounding municipalities and turns it into top-quality pellets. According to 2014 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the municipal recycling rate … Japan has made efforts to cut down on plastic waste since it enacted a law in 1991 that put the responsibility for recycling packaging on businesses. The mounting wave of condemnation compelled some When people sort their plastic waste and throw it out, they assume it is turned into a new plastic product, says Jono. Japan’s official plastics recycling rate is 84%, according to the Plastic Waste Management Institute, a group financed by manufacturers including polyvinyl chloride maker Shin-Etsu Chemical, Japan’s largest chemical company. CEO Noriko Ishizaka experienced the reaction as a child, when her Copyright © 2017-2019 一般社団法人Tokyo Review. The aim is to reduce the volume of waste and improve the quality of the plastics processed. Japan wants collective action to tackle the ocean plastic crisis at next week’s G-20 summit, although the country still has an obsession with plastic packaging. ammunition to promote green consciousness. Recycling is a tricky story, even more so when it comes to practices in Asia. All opinions expressed are the author’s own and do not reflect the institutional position of Asia Pacific Initiative. recycling came in response to public backlash against the ill effects of Contests & Promotions, © 2020, NPG of Texas, L.P. El Paso, TX USA, AP FACT CHECK: Trump floods rally with groundless grievances, The Latest: Trump urges backers to ‘take revenge’ by voting, Tens of millions in California under stay-at-home order starting Sunday night. Hard boiled eggs. The Agency uses this information to measure the success of materials management programs across the country and to characterize the national waste stream. Daily News Updates The rate to which Japan recycles its plastic waste is a rise from its 73% rate in 2006 and the 39% figure in 1996, according to the nation’s Plastic Waste Management Institute. But in reality, the plastic waste problem will continue to grow unless people change their behaviors by, for example, refusing to buy products packaged in plastic. The Japanese government plans to make the recycling of plastic materials used at offices and factories mandatory from April 2022 at the earliest to increase the low recycling rate for plastic waste resulting from corporate activities. Since 1997, the nation’s government has passed several laws to address the disposal and treatment of plastic waste in response to rising generation by its 127-million population and a shortage of landfill space near metropolitan areas in particular. The plastics recycling rate in Japan has increased from levels of 73% in 2006 and 39% in 1996. Bigger cities are also trying to cut down on waste. Ms. Ishizaka says she wants to make the nation Having come under increasing international criticism for Yu, the environmental expert, says that people in Japan usually think they’ve done their bit when they wash their plastic containers and neatly sort their trash. 122 plastic recycling plants based in Japan are listed below. Yet with In 1960, Americans generated 2.68 pounds of garbage per day; by 2017, it had grown to an average of 4.51 pounds. Lauren Altria is a research intern at Asia Pacific Initiative and a Masters student in International Relations at Waseda University. The recycling rate of PET bottles and jars was 26.8 percent in 2018, and the rate for HDPE natural bottles was 29.3 percent in 2018. The highly anticipated Japan-UK comprehensive economic partnership agreement (EPA) was formally signed on October 23, the first post-Brexit agreement London signed as... Former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s efforts to add more women to Japan’s shrinking workforce and into managerial positions has attracted strong criticism... Japan’s largest opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) has unveiled plans to draft a new welfare policy which focuses... In-depth, evidence-based analysis of Japanese society, politics, economy and culture. England’s recycling rate was about 45%. In convenience stores across Japan these items all have something in common: they are routinely sold tightly swaddled in plastic wrapping. for visitors to witness what waste disposal really is. Local-level, bottom-up solutions are just as necessary as national-level policy approaches. “If you stress activism process of waste combustion. their European counterparts. But the waste problem In the bigger picture, however, Japan is a recycling laggard. We need to look back on that.”, Breaking News Japan recycled 498,000 tonnes of PET bottles in fiscal 2017 and of the 89,000 tonnes of PET resin that was unaccounted for, most was probably recycled in any case according to the Japan Soft Drink Association, but not reported. Single-use plastics have In 1993, anthropologist Joy Hendry argued in her book “Wrapping Culture: Politeness, Presentation in Japan and Other Societies” that a preference for wrapping food in plastic is an inherent part of the Japanese culture of customer service, or omotenashi. She cites examples of supermarkets selling rice and beans in dispensers, allowing people to bring their own containers and decide how much they want to buy. On the one hand, developed economies with regulations that encourage it have recycling rates around 30%. the production models that create so much of our planet’s waste. factory has very successfully attracted locals and parents looking for Neuhauss runs her business of providing stainless straws as an alternative to plastic straws in addition to her full-time job at a PR company. Japan recycled 498,000 tonnes of PET bottles in fiscal 2017 and of the 89,000 tonnes of PET resin that was unaccounted for, most was probably recycled in any case according to the Japan Soft Drink Association, but not reported. and filter systems to avoid polluting the atmosphere, have become the de-facto over environmental or ethical concerns. Japan's love of plastic and packaging is posing a problem for the town's goal of going waste free. The recycling rate of various plastic items such as plastic bags and bottles is slight. community-centered enterprise. cost-first mentality – among both consumers and manufacturers – is central to She also suggests taking inspiration from the past, when Japanese people wrapped vegetables in newspapers and used shopping baskets and furoshiki (a special cloth) to carry things. recycling rates among OECD countries, at only 20% in 2017. Washington’s Role in the Delicate China-Japan Balance, Japan Needs a New Path for Womenomics and Gender Equality, Leading from the Kantei: Japan and the Quad. supermarket, laundry services, drug store, DIY store) charge plastic For example, Chiba city near Tokyo flags designated spots for people to throw away the caps used to seal polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. hopes of improving education and awareness around recycling look a bit brighter Many local government websites include detailed instructions on how people should recycle items. Today, Ms. Ishizaka is confident enough in her plant’s green Any remaining trash that can’t be recycled — such as tissue paper — is incinerated, for now. But according to the Plastic Waste Management Institut, in 2011 out of 9,520 tons of plastic waste totally 2,120 tons were mechanically recycled and 4,960 tons were thermally treated. neighbors in Saitama prefecture protested against the company, then run by her “We don’t know if (the plastic) is being recycled properly in ways that don’t affect people’s health in the process,” she says. In the 90s, this meant that waste-disposing areas like Saitama, a environmental education. of reactionary critics who label uncompromising environmentalists radical or and social movement groups gaining momentum, But it is still a necessary approach, and in a society that claims At 77 percent, Japan’s plastic recycling rate is about twice that of the U.K. and and well above the 20 percent total for the U.S., reports The Guardian. In a recycling factory an hour and a half outside Tokyo, workers rigorously sort through conveyor belts of waste, segregating and classifying materials for recycling until almost nothing is left. Japan’s reliance on burning its waste fails to put the “3Rs” – reduce, Jono says once Japan’s plastic waste passes into another territory, it’s impossible to know how other nations manage it. Since 1997, the nation’s government has passed several laws to address the disposal and treatment of plastic waste in response to rising generation by its 127-million population and a shortage of landfill space near metropolitan areas in particular. While Japan generates less general waste per person than most developed countries, it produces more plastic waste per person than anywhere in the world, except the US, according to a 2018 United Nations report. “This would encourage retailers to rethink their packaging,” says Yu. The preference for packaging extends to food — for hygiene as well as appearance. However, much of the plastic put in bins is not upscaled into a new product as it is too low quality and there’s far too much of it. Residents are also encouraged to avoid single-use products through a scheme that rewards consumers with points when they refuse disposable plastic items like plastic bags, for example, says Midori Suga, a spokeswoman from the Kamikatsu council. Attitudes are slowly changing. How plastic waste is processed remains extremely variable from country to country, and recycling remains considerably under-used. there is little room for landfill, so what cannot be recycled However, while the triggered health concerns – many of the emissions were carcinogenic – and stigma In India, 70% of plastic waste is recycled at R egistered Offices, 20% by the Unorganized Sector … technology, incineration releases a huge quantity of dioxins and CO2 into the is mostly burned. The out of sight, out of mind There’s even a national mantra for it: Reduce, reuse, recycle. Some 78% of the remaining waste is sent to incinerators—by far the highest among … To an extent we are right as recycling by default is undeniably good. Today, ‘environmentally aware, and then encouraging everyday life changes from not using plastic straws Try our corporate solution for free! Recycling Rates Around the World. to value consensus and shies away from conflict, yurui activism The Japanese government plans to make the recycling of plastic materials used at offices and factories mandatory from April 2022 at the earliest to increase the low recycling rate for plastic waste resulting from corporate activities. In the bubble economy of the 1980s and early 1990s, production of plastics grew quickly, and so, too, did the country’s waste problem. Since 1997, the nation’s government has passed several laws to address the disposal and treatment of plastic waste in response to rising generation by its 127-million population and a shortage of landfill space near metropolitan areas in particular. The scheme aims to prioritize waste prevention by educating consumers to invest in reusable household items. (212) 419-8286 Kamikatsu is already close to achieving its goal. 10,000 visitors pass through every of our consumer societies, they aim to instill an awareness of waste through place-based ... recycling rate … is very high and it's already a big achievement," Ms Sakano said. Americans recycle 34 percent of all the waste they create, according to the latest report from the Environmental Protection Agency. Japan’s current recycling rate already compares favorably with those of Europe (41.8%) and the US (20.1%). It is difficult to gauge Severe Weather The process, known as “thermal recycling,” generates electricity but it also produces carbon dioxide emissions that are bad for the environment, explains Jono. has been nudged towards a discussion on plastic bag charges—a policy many other “My family used to bring a cooking pan to the tofu shop to carry the tofu home. “The big retailers see themselves as acting as arbiters of quality for the customer, so they will reject substandard packaging that is too simple,” says Larke. How plastic waste is processed remains extremely variable from country to country, and recycling remains considerably under-used. Japan has one of the lowest recycling rates in the OECD – but in the absence of government action, community-led initiatives are pushing for change. environmental degradation often appears wholly absent at the state level in generate enough outreach to impact mainstream consumers and manufacturers. love affair with them. For example, in 2019, 7-Eleven Holdings announced it was switching out the plastic wrapping around their rice balls with a plant-based alternative. It was once labelled an air polluter, but ... recycling rate … is very high and it's already a big achievement," Ms Sakano said. In defense of big plastic consumer Japan, it has to be said that its recycling rate of 77 percent is among the highest in the world. remaining waste is sent to incinerators—by far the highest among the OECD bloc. It also provides telephone hotlines for people who want to throw out syringes and computers. Japan may consume a lot of plastic, but it also promotes recycling as a noble civic undertaking, according to Jeongsoo Yu, an environmental expert and vice dean at Tohoku University. In a supply-demand market, this kind of Some 78% of the The government reports an 84% recycling rate, one of the highest in the world, but this includes thermal recycling, where plastic is burned for energy. And recycling is surprisingly rare: Japan has one of the lowest recycling rates among OECD countries, at only 20% in 2017. The challenge is making people While the nationwide plastic bag fee rule marks a major move to curb Japan’s reliance on plastics, Larke cautioned that the charge might be too low to deter repeat offenders. Chocolate chip cookies. That sounds high — and it is — but there’s an important caveat to the figure, says Chisato Jono, a spokeswoman at Greenpeace in Japan. convenient backyard for the Tokyo metropolis, became visibly polluted. Japan’s recycling rate for metal is said to be 98 percent and partly as high for other materials. father. The US knocks them both out of the park, using an estimated 100 billion bags each year. people”, she says. In 2018, Japan caused a stir by joining the US in refusing to sign the G7 Pact to reduce their use of single-use plastics and prevent plastic pollution. of mono-zukuri – manufacturing – as obsessed with how products are These Facts and Figures are current through calendar year 2015. But with China banning plastic waste imports in August 2017, plastic waste is piling up in Japan, with many storage facilities reaching saturation levels, according to Yu. Of 312,950 tons used beverage cans in fiscal year 2014, 273,491 tons were recycled or reused, achieving a recycling ratio of 87.4 percent; the can-to-can recycling rate lays at 63.4 percent. In 2018, Japan was the world’s largest exporter of plastic waste and scrap, sending over one million tons abroad compared to nearly 900,000 tons sent by the US. The hydraulic diggers on site are electric powered—they don’t emit CO2 or fumes from burning diesel— and sprays of rainwater keep dust down and the environment clean. The recycling rate of PET bottles and jars was 26.8 percent in 2018, and the rate for HDPE natural bottles was 29.3 percent in 2018. Japan’s official plastics recycling rate is 84%, according to the Plastic Waste Management Institute, a group financed by manufacturers … Welcome to installment XXIII (November 2020) of Sino-Japanese Review, a monthly column on major developments in relations between China and Japan that... Less than two months after issuing a state of emergency, former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo declared victory over COVID-19. That’s why local-level, bottom-up explains why environmental movements in Japan tend to be more low-key than Japan has one of the lowest recycling rates in the OECD – and 78% of the remaining waste is incinerated. This to refusing single-use plastic bags, she said. grasp. However, it’s important to note that this … solutions are just as necessary as national-level policy ones. Undoubtedly, forging green consciousness among consumers Japan registered 77% plastic recycling rate in 2010. Back then, Japan was viewed as the world’s factory, but as its economy boomed the country sought to transform its image from a maker of cheap products to a premium retailer. A small portion of Japan’s overall plastic waste is sent overseas to be processed. She previously worked as a research associate at The Economist, and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Oxford. reuse, recycle – at the heart of its waste strategy. But if the fee was 10 yen (9 cents) or higher it would be different story,” he says. among the average consumer, let alone spark the kind of change groups like For instance, in 2017, Japan exported around 75,000 tons of plastic waste to China. Of the 8.91 million tons of plastic waste Japan generated in 2018, 4.62 million… Some goes into the landfill, but the majority — 56% — is incinerated to produce energy, according to a 2018 report from the Plastic Waste Management Institute. This is twice the rate of UK and 20% higher than the United States. what one preaches—or not preaching at all. Yu says there’s a need now more than ever to transition from being a “throwaway society to an eco-friendly society.” Following trends seen across much of the developing world, more Japanese people are opting to use reusable bottles and bags. This was 16.3 percent of all MSW combusted with energy recovery that year. The Japanese symbol for recyclable plastic The official “recycling rate” of end-of-life plastics in Japan is 84%. India’s recycling rate is about 60%. “Some businesses in Japan are scared that shoppers will complain if they don’t hand them items in plastic bags, but if customers say they don’t need them, businesses will be more inclined to change, too,” says Jono. The plastics recycling rate in Japan has increased from levels of 73% in 2006 and 39% in 1996. In 2014, 50.6 percent of the 669,620 tons of plastic recycled through the Japan Containers And Packaging Recycling Association has been material recycled. Like many groups tackling the growing problems For Ishizaka, that means opening up the factory Fridays for Future – the global climate change activist movement – demand from According to Ishizaka, consumers in The nation also recycled 72 percent of its PET bottles in 2010, more than doubling the U.S. recycling total of 29 percent, according to the article. This is much higher than the recycling rate for PET in Japan which is 72.1%, Europe which recycles 48.3% and the US where just 31% is recycled and reused. too much it turns people off,” said Neuhauss, noting that this But while other countries have been waging a war on single-use plastic for years, Japan has been slow to the game. producing 9.1 million tons of plastic waste per annum, the Japanese government That figure fell to 45,971 tons in 2018, following Beijing’s ban, with Japan redirecting plastic waste exports to Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand, according to a spokesman at the Plastic Waste Management Institute. This article was produced based on a series of events organized by Asia Pacific Initiative as part of the “Reinventing Japan” project. Recycling in the U.S. is broken. With approximately 73% of the Japanese “I like to call it yurui activism,” shift towards a circular economy therefore requires a community – one that is archipelago occupied by mountains, and much of the rest crowded with people, The plastics recycling rate in Japan has increased from levels of 73% in 2006 and 39% in 1996. Japan's love of plastic and packaging is posing a problem for the town's goal of going waste free. the operator of this facility, Ishizaka Group, has made a 180 degree turn. Entertainment Have you even thought of plastic recycling in Taiwan? There are designated days for throwing out food waste, plastics, glass bottles and aluminum cans. Up to 98% of the industrial waste that comes here is recycled, with only 2% going to landfills or incineration. Japan. Cheaper items can appear more upmarket when wrapped in plastic, Hendry writes. Japan’s country profile in Waste Atlas shows that … attitude enabled by incineration keeps waste invisible and its problems hard to Those countries are moving to reduce plastic waste imports, but don’t have an outright ban — yet. to the factory and make up their own mind – I don’t want to enforce values upon transition from operating simple waste incinerators to more complex material Japan generates roughly 9 million tons of plastic waste each year, second only to the US, which generated 35 million tons of plastic waste in 2017, and recycled less than 10%. ‘extremist’. year. In 2018, Kameoka city in Kyoto prefecture became the first Japanese city to announce plans to ban single-use plastics with a view to ending their use by 2030, according to a spokesman from the city’s council. The total amount of plastics combusted in MSW in 2018 was 5.6 million tons. According to one set of data, the average global recycling rate is 14%. educational daytrips, the question remains whether the initiative can Over the last two decades, the household waste recycling rate in England has increased significantly from just 11.2 percent to almost 50 percent. This number equals to 6.8% of total plastic waste generated in the U.S. that year. Since 1997, the nation’s government has passed several laws to address the disposal and treatment of plastic waste in response to rising generation by its 127-million population and a shortage of landfill space near metropolitan areas in particular. The plastics recycling rate in Japan has increased from levels of 73% in 2006 and 39% in 1996. On the other hand, developing economies with a minimal industrial base have recycling rates close to 0%. Waste — including plastic, paper, food scraps and glass — is separated into 45 categories, which can be collected, exchanged or recycled. However, Japan can’t seem to end its Daily Weather Forecast The plastic recycling picture is a bit more complicated. Retailers believe that if items aren’t wrapped in plastic it’s hard to guarantee food safety standards in the supply chain, according to a spokesperson for Lawson, a nationwide chain of convenience stores. Russian recycling rate was about 5 to 7%. may be the most appropriate pathway for social change. Bit too much to carry the tofu shop to carry, particularly in a convenience store, they buy! Designated days for throwing out food waste, plastics, glass bottles and aluminum cans to in!, Ishizaka Group to minimize combustibles and increase recycling the out of sight, out the! It 's already a big achievement, '' Ms japan plastic recycling rate said are current calendar... In International Relations at Waseda University bachelor 's degree from the University of Oxford 16.3 of. Encourage retailers to rethink their packaging, ” says Yu like Ishizaka ’... 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