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Home > NETT21 > Waste Recycling Technologies and Recycling Promotion Initiatives in Eco-towns in Japan

Data Entry: November 2011
Name of local government Aichi Prefectural Government
Department in charge of eco-town program Recycling and Waste Management Division, Department of the Environment
Approval of eco-town plan September 2004
Target area of eco-town program Whole area of Aichi Prefecture: 5,165 km2
Locations of waste recycling facilities Whole area of Aichi Prefecture
Waste recycling facilities

20 facilities

  • Manufacturing chips (used as raw materials for pulp and boards, and as fuel), decomposed fiber (used as raw materials for mattresses), and wood flour from waste wood (including from demolishing residential houses, lumber from thinning, and pruned branches)
  • Manufacturing high-value-added mattresses with low environmental impact from decomposed fiber derived from waste wood
    Manufacturing 100% wood-plastic composites with wood flour derived from waste wood
  • Recovering valuable metals (nickel and zinc) from sludge and dust
  • Recovering raw materials for steel-making from automobile shredder residue (ASR)
  • Recycling waste rubber raw materials (waste rubber before vulcanization) generated from rubber manufacturing plants into rubber raw materials
  • Manufacturing fertilizer and livestock feed from food waste by using sub-critical (hydrothermal) systems
  • Collecting and recycling used lead-acid batteries for industrial use
  • Manufacturing foamed glass beads (artificial light-weight aggregate) from waste glass
  • Manufacturing alcohol (for solvents and fuel) from food waste
  • Ensuring tracking management and recycling of pachinko & pachislot machines
  • Separating and recovering valuable materials from scrap materials generated during housing renovation
  • Manufacturing livestock feed and bioethanol from food waste generated by food manufacturing companies
  • Manufacturing biodegradable plastic products derived from waste magnetic materials and oyster shells
  • Manufacturing alternative raw materials in place of coke and alternative fuels in place of heavy oil from waste wooden pallets, logged trees, and pruned branches
  • Separating, recovering, and recycling gypsum and paper from waste plaster boards
  • Recovering recycled aggregates from waste concrete blocks
  • Recycling plating wastewater
  • Recycling laminated glass with film
  • Recycling forest thinnings and waste wood from urban areas
Background of starting eco-town program

Shortage of waste disposal sites

  • In Aichi Prefecture, it has become increasingly difficult to secure new waste disposal sites; the conventional approach (i.e., proper waste treatment) alone no longer sufficed.
  • In 1999, the City of Nagoya issued the Waste Emergency Declaration.

Waste reduction and promotion of recycling required by national law

Necessity of revitalizing the local economy

  • With the traditional heavy industries somewhat on the decline, the Aichi Prefectural Government was seeking ways to revitalize the local economy.
  • The conventional major industries in Aichi Prefecture (including the automobile industry) were facing limits to growth, so private companies were also seeking new business models.

Leadership of the local government

  • The governor of the Aichi Prefectural Government demonstrated strong leadership toward establishing a recycling society. In 2003, the Plan for Establishing a Resource Recycling Society in Aichi Prefecture was formulated.
  • Recognizing the urgent need to establish a resource recycling society, the waste management department of the Aichi Prefectural Government took the initiative in drawing up an action plan.
Basic concepts for eco-town development

Objective

The eco-town plan is intended to systematically establish efficient and innovative waste recycling facilities, and to facilitate the spread of recycling businesses, thereby promoting community planning in harmony with the environment, while considering the characteristics of communities in the prefecture

Priority wastes

  • Six items of industrial waste: sludge, soot & dust, construction debris, waste plastics, waste glass and waste ceramics, wood waste
  • Municipal solid waste
Basic concept
To make Aichi "an environmentally and economically active hub of manufacturing"
Aichi is known as the leading quality manufacturing prefecture in Japan. The Aichi Prefectural Government actively encourages the creation of new, high value-added recycling businesses based on citizens' participation, communication and collaboration among industry, academia, and local government, and cooperation among business operators, by taking advantage of (i) the advanced industrial technologies developed in the prefecture and (ii) the accomplishments of the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan based on the theme of "Nature's Wisdom"
Efforts are under way to make Aichi "an environmentally and economically active hub of manufacturing" where recycling businesses and existing industries (such as the manufacturing industry) work closely with, and create demand for, one another in the social and economic system.

Aichi Eco-Town Plan (summary in English) http://aichi-shigen-junkan.jp/aichi_ecotown/pdf/ecotown-e.pdf

Programs for promoting eco-town development

Creating and assisting recycling businesses

Effective and innovative recycling businesses (e.g., a recycling industry for effectively utilizing unused waste as a resource) are being created and developed based on the prefecture's advantage as an industrial and technological hub.

Encouraging companies to take eco-conscious actions

Companies are encouraged to take eco-conscious actions throughout their manufacturing processes and to manufacture eco-conscious products.

Promoting the zero emissions community initiative

Zero emissions activities are promoted on a regional basis involving companies, residents, and local governments, etc.

Improving an eco-related information system

The Resource Recycling Information System is established to facilitate developing, creating and stimulating innovative and effective recycling businesses.

Enhancing eco learning and education

Eco learning and environmental education are enhanced to encourage every resident to consider their own lifestyle and take eco-conscious actions both at work and home.

Major success factors
  • The region is a hub of advanced industrial technologies.
  • Existing companies launched recycling businesses to seek new business opportunities.
  • In many cases, manufacturers own large tracts of land where they could start their recycling business. (It is difficult for companies to purchase new plots of land.)
  • With the progress in recycling efforts, companies started voluntarily to switch from waste disposal to recycling and to reduce internal costs. The promotion of recycling efforts also boosted the development of sorting technologies and systems, and many intermediate waste processing companies also emerged.
  • Companies took the initiative in building their own network. 
Unique efforts and initiatives for eco-town development

Recycling Business Creation Meeting

  • Based on the voluntary participation of private companies and under the coordination of academic experts, matching arrangements are made for collaborative research programs and joint projects to develop innovative and effective recycling technologies.
  • Technology development focuses on recycling of priority wastes to be addressed. At present, seven items are specified (i.e., sludge, soot & dust, construction debris, waste plastics, waste glass and waste ceramics, wood waste, and municipal solid waste). - Also, draft business plans and ideas proposed by companies, etc. are reviewed from various aspects and improved to better serve the public interest.
  • Excellent business plans are recognized under the Aichi Eco-Town Program, and support is provided for such as for subsidizing the construction of facilities and promoting the use of recycled products.

Recycling Business Creation Coordinator System

  • Experienced experts who have retired from private companies and universities are hired to organize recycling business creation meetings and seminars, and to provide customized business matching services across various industries and manufactures.

Introduction of industrial waste disposal tax

  • In 2006, the industrial waste disposal tax (JPY 1,000/ton) was introduced in Aichi Prefecture.
  • This tax is intended to discourage the generation of industrial waste, encourage the reuse and recycling of waste, and reduce the landfill volume.
  • The tax revenues are ring-fenced in a special fund to be used as subsidies for feasibility studies on recycling technologies, etc., construction of waste recycling facilities, the purchase of equipment, etc., and as operating costs for promoting recycling businesses (e.g., holding recycling business creation meetings and employing coordinators to organize the meetings).

Providing resource recycling information

  • The Resource Recycling Information System was developed in collaboration with Toyohashi University of Technology, and provides the following information.
  • Materials flow: Distribution channels of resources and waste materials in respective industries in Aichi Prefecture, annual changes in consumption of resources and volume of waste generated, distribution of waste generated and recycled in respective local governments, etc.
  • Resource recycling information: Eco-related information (including the 3R’s), business operators in the prefecture that have specific recycling technologies, etc. This information facilitates to match companies that generate waste with companies that accept and recycle waste.
  • Eco project files: Successful efforts made by local governments, companies, and NPOs in the past to reduce waste, and other current efforts

Aichi Prefecture Environment Award

  • Companies, organizations, and residents are invited to apply based on their pioneering and effective technologies, programs, activities, and education programs for recycling resources and reducing environmental impact. Excellent efforts are commended.
  • Excellent efforts are publicized so that new production systems and lifestyles become accepted as a part of society, thereby promoting to create a resource recycling society.
  • Notably, the Aichi Prefecture Environment Award is useful for small and medium-sized companies raise their profile by publicizing their business values.
Future prospects The Aichi Prefectural Government will continue to make efforts to reduce the final disposal volume of waste and promote recycling. The prefectural government also aims to encourage advanced efforts that broadly contribute to reducing environmental impact, such as utilizing unused energy and reducing CO2 emissions, in addition to promoting recycling businesses.

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