people”, she says. 122 plastic recycling plants based in Japan are listed below. On the local level, some places in Japan have been taking action to reduce the use of plastics. For me, this is brand new. Japan tend to prioritize price However, that might be about to change. September 2, 2015. All opinions expressed are the author’s own and do not reflect the institutional position of Asia Pacific Initiative. whether yurui activism will be enough to popularize the 3Rs 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. Jono says once Japan’s plastic waste passes into another territory, it’s impossible to know how other nations manage it. There’s even a national mantra for it: Reduce, reuse, recycle. 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. Daily Weather Forecast India’s recycling rate is about 60%. Japan’s country profile in Waste Atlas shows that … 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. The aim is to reduce the volume of waste and improve the quality of the plastics processed. Having come under increasing international criticism for Yet with against local produce. hopes of improving education and awareness around recycling look a bit brighter Japan's love of plastic and packaging is posing a problem for the town's goal of going waste free. This piece was based on a presentation followed by discussion by Ms. Noriko Ishizaka, the President of Ishizaka Group. in a country that is still coming to grips with the scale of its waste problem. According to EPA reports, 2.1 million tons of plastic waste was recycled in 2008. has been nudged towards a discussion on plastic bag charges—a policy many other To an extent we are right as recycling by default is undeniably good. EPA began collecting and reporting data on the generation and disposition of waste in the United States more than 30 years ago. Without filtering 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. The scheme aims to prioritize waste prevention by educating consumers to invest in reusable household items. grasp. The recycling rate of various plastic items such as plastic bags and bottles is slight. It was once labelled an air polluter, but 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. 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. The process, known as “thermal recycling,” generates electricity but it also produces carbon dioxide emissions that are bad for the environment, explains Jono. Of the 540 billion plastic shopping bags used annually worldwide, consumers in Japan get through about 30 billion of them. However, while the 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. Ms. Ishizaka says she wants to make the nation Among them is No Plastic Japan, founded by Mona Neuhauss. 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. That, however, creates another problem. In convenience stores across Japan these items all have something in common: they are routinely sold tightly swaddled in plastic wrapping. 10,000 visitors pass through every 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. Waste — including plastic, paper, food scraps and glass — is separated into 45 categories, which can be collected, exchanged or recycled. England’s recycling rate was about 45%. Jono argues the solution isn’t to create alternative biodegrable plastics, but to think of ways of eliminating the use of plastics altogether. 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. 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. For Ishizaka, that means opening up the factory In the bubble economy of the 1980s and early 1990s, production of plastics grew quickly, and so, too, did the country’s waste problem. Daily News Updates remaining waste is sent to incinerators—by far the highest among the OECD bloc. 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. A small portion of Japan’s overall plastic waste is sent overseas to be processed. The Agency uses this information to measure the success of materials management programs across the country and to characterize the national waste stream. Several types of polymers are recycled there: LDPE (low-density polyethylene), PS (polystyrene) and PP (polypropylene). national policies that fail to reflect a climate emergency, discussion on CEO Noriko Ishizaka experienced the reaction as a child, when her “I want people to come and filter systems to avoid polluting the atmosphere, have become the de-facto The total amount of plastics combusted in MSW in 2018 was 5.6 million tons. 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. governments. Of the 8.91 million tons of plastic waste Japan generated in 2018, 4.62 million… 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. there is little room for landfill, so what cannot be recycled 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. Entertainment 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%. Americans recycle 34 percent of all the waste they create, according to the latest report from the Environmental Protection Agency. for visitors to witness what waste disposal really is. “This would encourage retailers to rethink their packaging,” says Yu. Of the 8.91 million tons of plastic waste Japan generated in 2018, 4.62 million… The US knocks them both out of the park, using an estimated 100 billion bags each year. of reactionary critics who label uncompromising environmentalists radical or However, the following year Japan committed to reducing disposable plastic waste by 25% by 2030 â and to reuse or recycle 60% of all plastic packaging and containers by the same year. The mounting wave of condemnation compelled some supermarket, laundry services, drug store, DIY store) charge plastic environmental education. But while Japan’s approach to sorting waste appears sophisticated, in reality the country’s recycling system is being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of plastic. environmental degradation often appears wholly absent at the state level in recycling rates among OECD countries, at only 20% in 2017. this burning produces exhaust fumes that contribute to climate change, while 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. Try our corporate solution for free! 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. How plastic waste is processed remains extremely variable from country to country, and recycling remains considerably under-used. And recycling is surprisingly rare: Japan has one of the lowest recycling rates among OECD countries, at only 20% in 2017. In 2018, landfills received 27 million tons of plastic. Japan's love of plastic and packaging is posing a problem for the town's goal of going waste free. generate enough outreach to impact mainstream consumers and manufacturers. According to one set of data, the average global recycling rate is 14%. goes beyond the scale of consumption. Japan’s current recycling rate already compares favorably with those of Europe (41.8%) and the US (20.1%). In India, 70% of plastic waste is recycled at R egistered Offices, 20% by the Unorganized Sector … On the other hand, developing economies with a minimal industrial base have recycling rates close to 0%. “I like to call it yurui activism,” 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. 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. With approximately 73% of the Japanese Plastic lasts forever. Japan’s official plastics recycling rate is 84%, according to the Plastic Waste Management Institute, a group financed by manufacturers … We need to look back on that.”, Breaking News Japan’s recycling rate for metal is said to be 98 percent and partly as high for other materials. This was 16.3 percent of all MSW combusted with energy recovery that year. This is twice the rate of UK and 20% higher than the United States. Japan registered 77% plastic recycling rate in 2010. That’s significant because the convenience store produces roughly 2.2 billion rice balls a year, and estimates that it could save on 260 tons of plastic and reduce CO2 emissions by 403 tons a year. love affair with them. she said, which translates loosely into ‘soft’ activism based on practicing For example, in 2019, 7-Eleven Holdings announced it was switching out the plastic wrapping around their rice balls with a plant-based alternative. The plastics recycling rate in Japan has increased from levels of 73% in 2006 and 39% in 1996. These Facts and Figures are current through calendar year 2015. The preference for packaging extends to food — for hygiene as well as appearance. 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. The Japanese symbol for recyclable plastic The official “recycling rate” of end-of-life plastics in Japan is 84%. The plastics recycling rate in Japan has increased from levels of 73% in 2006 and 39% in 1996. 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. In 1960, Americans generated 2.68 pounds of garbage per day; by 2017, it had grown to an average of 4.51 pounds. community-centered enterprise. Today, ‘environmentally recycling came in response to public backlash against the ill effects of cost-first mentality – among both consumers and manufacturers – is central to It gives the impression that a store is providing a better, more considerate service. shift towards a circular economy therefore requires a community – one that is what one preaches—or not preaching at all. 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. 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. (212) 419-8286 The factory is just one project within Ishizaka Group’s Fridays for Future – the global climate change activist movement – demand from 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. to value consensus and shies away from conflict, yurui activism Japan’s current recycling rate already compares favorably with those of Europe (41.8%) and the US (20.1%). 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. “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. The challenge is making people among the average consumer, let alone spark the kind of change groups like Kamikatsu is already close to achieving its goal. 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. It also provides telephone hotlines for people who want to throw out syringes and computers. The residents of Kamikatsu in southern Japan, a town with a population of 1,490, have been following a “zero-waste” policy since 2003. But if the fee was 10 yen (9 cents) or higher it would be different story,” he says. To put that in context, Japan has twice the population of the UK, but uses 17 times as many plastic bags. 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. https://www.tokyoreview.net/author/laurenaltria/, Japan on Edge over “Unprecedented” Chinese Incursions, The Japan-UK Trade Agreement and the Shadow of Brexit. That sounds high — and it is — but there’s an important caveat to the figure, says Chisato Jono, a spokeswoman at Greenpeace in Japan. How plastic waste is processed remains extremely variable from country to country, and recycling remains considerably under-used. In the bigger picture, however, Japan is a recycling laggard. 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. 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. But with the factory doors open 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. ... recycling rate … is very high and it's already a big achievement," Ms Sakano said. A cultural About one-tenth of the volume -- 900,000 tons -- was shipped to China, which received 70% of Japan's plastic waste exports. Japan has one of the lowest recycling rates in the OECD – and 78% of the remaining waste is incinerated. For instance, in 2017, Japan exported around 75,000 tons of plastic waste to China. Those points can then be banked and used to buy other reusable items, she says. Up to 98% of the industrial waste that comes here is recycled, with only 2% going to landfills or incineration. Some 78% of the remaining waste is sent to incinerators—by far the highest among … But the waste problem She previously worked as a research associate at The Economist, and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Oxford. 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. When people sort their plastic waste and throw it out, they assume it is turned into a new plastic product, says Jono. … mindful of the waste flows in everyday life. But while other countries have been waging a war on single-use plastic for years, Japan has been slow to the game. 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. 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. “If you stress activism “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. Bigger cities are also trying to cut down on waste. 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. father. ammunition to promote green consciousness. countries jumped on board with over a decade ago. 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. Recycling is nearly a national pastime in Germany. Today, Ms. Ishizaka is confident enough in her plant’s green overlooking the giant processing floor. On the one hand, developed economies with regulations that encourage it have recycling rates around 30%. But Japan’s deep reliance on plastic doesn’t end with wrapping single items. 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. too much it turns people off,” said Neuhauss, noting that this reuse, recycle – at the heart of its waste strategy. For example, Chiba city near Tokyo flags designated spots for people to throw away the caps used to seal polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. 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. 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. Have you even thought of plastic recycling in Taiwan? emissions. process of waste combustion. factory has very successfully attracted locals and parents looking for 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. technology, incineration releases a huge quantity of dioxins and CO2 into the Lauren Altria is a research intern at Asia Pacific Initiative and a Masters student in International Relations at Waseda University. But individuals need to realize how much their attitudes can shift business models, says Jono. It is difficult to gauge Plastic, paper, PET bottles, aluminium and glass are collected and recycled. to the factory and make up their own mind – I don’t want to enforce values upon archipelago occupied by mountains, and much of the rest crowded with people, 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. attitude enabled by incineration keeps waste invisible and its problems hard to “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. In the 90s, this meant that waste-disposing areas like Saitama, a Those countries are moving to reduce plastic waste imports, but don’t have an outright ban — yet. Hard boiled eggs. Over the last two decades, the household waste recycling rate in England has increased significantly from just 11.2 percent to almost 50 percent. According to Ishizaka, consumers in From next January, retailers in the city will be banned from offering customers plastic bags — if they’re free or not. Published with the support and assistance of the Asia Pacific Initiative. On the other hand, developing economies with a minimal industrial base have recycling rates close to 0%. Attitudes are slowly changing. Copyright © 2017-2019 一般社団法人Tokyo Review. Recycling in the U.S. is broken. 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. 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. However, it’s important to note that this … “If someone has just a bit too much to carry, particularly in a convenience store, they might buy a bag. the operator of this facility, Ishizaka Group, has made a 180 degree turn. Can a Universal Basic Services Plan Save Japan’s Opposition? 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. Its still looks to be a Sisyphean task in Japan. Single bananas. Cheaper items can appear more upmarket when wrapped in plastic, Hendry writes. This 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. Any remaining trash that can’t be recycled — such as tissue paper — is incinerated, for now. Single-use plastics have may be the most appropriate pathway for social change. 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