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Data Entry: November 2011
Name of local government Chiba Prefectural Government
Department in charge of eco-town program Recycling and Waste Management Division, Environmental and Community Affairs Department
Approval of eco-town plan January 1999
Revised: September 2002, November 2003, October 2004 and August 2005
Target area of eco-town program Western and central parts of Chiba Prefecture
Locations of waste recycling facilities Western and central parts of Chiba Prefecture
Waste recycling facilities

Government subsidized facilities: 7 facilities

  • Production of recycled cement from waste incinerator ash, etc.
    • Recycled cement is produced by calcining a mixture of municipal solid waste incinerator ash, sludge from water/wastewater treatment and industrial processes, seashell waste, limestone, clay, iron oxide, etc. Applications of recycled cement as a raw material include residential construction materials, wave-dissipating concrete blocks, street curbstones and gutters, pavement blocks, and soil stabilizer.
    • Dioxins contained in incinerator ash are decomposed and heavy metals such as lead and copper are recovered during the process of producing recycled cement.
  • Slag and metal recovery through direct melting of municipal solid waste
    • Municipal solid waste, bulky waste, incinerator ash, human waste, septic tank sludge, etc. are directly gasified and melted to recover slag and metal. Recovered slag is used as asphalt and concrete aggregate. Recovered metal is used for the counterweights of cranes and other heavy equipment.
  • Bio gasification of food waste and organic waste
    • Methane gas is recovered from anaerobic digestion of food/organic waste from food manufacturing industries, food retailers and households, etc. The recovered methane gas is used as a fuel by the adjacent steelworks.
  • Production of recycled plywood from waste wood and plastics
    • Waste wood is crushed into wood chips and fibers. Waste plastics are crushed into plastic flakes or melted and drawn into plastic fibers. Recycled plywood is produced from the wood chips/fibers and plastic flakes/fibers.
  • Recovery of recyclable raw materials from disused farm machines and golf carts
    • Disused farm machines and golf carts received are dismantled by following the assembly steps in reverse. Individual parts and components are accurately separated and sorted by material, and high-quality recyclable raw materials are recovered (scrap steel, scrap copper, scrap aluminum, plastic and glass). Recovered materials are used as raw materials or fuel for steelmaking in a nearby steelworks.
  • Recycling seashells into materials for steelmaking (limestone substitute)
    • Shell waste generated from trough-shell processing at local industries is crushed and used as a substitute material for limestone in steelmaking process.
  • Recovery of recycled resin from used carpet tiles
    • Used PVC carpet tiles received are processed into particles, and PVC compound are recovered. Recycled PVC compound is used as a raw material for carpet tiles.

Non-subsidized facilities

  • Recovery of fuel gas, slag and metal via gasification and melting of industrial waste
    • Industrial waste (waste plastics, sludge, waste wood, waste paper, etc.) is processed by gasifying and melting, and fuel gas, slag, metal are recovered. Recovered fuel gas is used as a fuel by the adjacent steelworks, recovered slag is used as a road base material, and recovered metal is sold as a non-ferrous metal material.
Background of starting eco-town program
  • Shortage of waste disposal sites
    • Chiba Prefecture was faced with a major challenge of reducing the amount of waste disposal due to difficulties in constructing new waste disposal sites and dwindling capacity of existing sites. There was an urgent need to shift from the conventional landfill method of waste management to a system that does not depend on waste disposal sites.
    • In particular, reduction of the final waste disposal was a growing issue in western and central parts of Chiba Prefecture due to the high levels of urbanization and industrialization in those areas, which generated large volumes of waste.
  • Chiba Prefectural Government's waste management policy
    • The Chiba Prefectural Government drew up the following policies and plans and conducted various activities to reduce waste production, promote recycling and develop relevant systems.
      "Basic policy for promoting waste reduction and recycling in Chiba Prefecture" (1994)
      "Municipal solid waste management master plan for Chiba Prefecture" (1997)
      "Area-wide waste management plan in Chiba Prefecture" (1998)
  • Development of eco-town program by the national government
    • In 1997, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment established a national eco-town program in order to build a resource recycling society and achieve regional development by promoting environmental industries.

Basic concepts for eco-town development
  • Purpose of eco-town program
    The Chiba Prefectural Government developed an eco-town program to implement its zero emission vision, choosing the western and central parts of the prefecture as model areas due to their high levels of urbanization and industrialization. The goal of the program is to achieve environment-friendly urban development incorporating new-technology-based recycling systems, by constructing recycling facilities utilizing the technical expertise and capital of the private sector.
  • Basic concepts of eco-town program
    The eco-town program aims to minimize waste disposal, or to promote the zero emission vision. The purposes of the program also include reducing environmental impacts on a local and global basis and regional development by stimulating environmental industries based on industrial experience in the target areas.
  • Basic policy
    • Minimize the final disposal of municipal solid waste generated in cities and municipalities in the target areas of the eco-town program, by promoting the production control and recycling of municipal solid waste. Measures include educational activities across a wide area, encouragement of the development and introduction of waste processing/recycling technologies, and collection and dissemination of information on recycling.
    • Minimize the final disposal of waste from businesses located in the coastal, exclusive industrial zone in the target area of the eco-town program, by controlling waste from the production processes of various industries and facilitating the recycling of waste byproducts among various industries.
    • Draw up and propose a plan for efficient and advanced processing/recycling of municipal solid waste by adopting an area-wide waste management approach.
    • Conserve natural resources by optimally using recyclable resources and reduce environmental impacts by encouraging the introduction of waste processing technologies with low environmental emissions (dioxins, CO2, etc.).
    • Increase job opportunities and achieve regional development by supporting and fostering businesses working on research and development of original and pioneering waste processing technologies, thereby promoting such private-sector environmental industries.
Programs for promoting eco-town development
  • Environmental education activities
    • The Chiba Prefecture Environmental Master Plan requests stakeholders (prefectural government, municipal governments, businesses, residents and private-sector organizations) to cooperate in promoting environmental education to encourage individuals to consider the environment. Information on the eco-town program is incorporated in this environmental education to raise awareness about the program.
  • Program recognition
    • Opportunities such as exhibitions and other events are used to display and explain the eco-town program to help residents, businesses and related administrative bodies to understand the need to shift toward a resource recycling society.
  • Eco-town program brochure creation
    • Eco-town program approaches will be publicized to residents and businesses by creating an eco-town program brochure that explains the development of a resource recycling society.
  • Information provision
    • The Chiba Prefectural Government provides information on waste and recycling on its website. The website also contains information about the eco-town program for residents, businesses and related administrative bodies.
  • Assessment of area-wide recycling systems making full use of the recycling industry complex
    • Area-wide recycling systems that make full use of the recycling industry complex have been assessed, and the future of the recycling industry complex has been analyzed.
Major success factors
  • Waste quantity assurance
    - Chiba Prefecture is located in Japan's metropolitan area, and produces much waste. Adjacent to Japan's capital, Tokyo, the prefecture also receives much waste from Tokyo, and so a large volume of wastes, or materials for recycling, is assured in the prefecture.
  • Strong administrative leadership for waste production control and recycling
    - In Chiba Prefecture, the prefectural government has actively worked to raise awareness among residents to reduce waste production due to the shortage of waste disposal sites.
  • Residents' strong awareness of waste production control and recycling
    - In Chiba Prefecture, residents were already considering controlling waste production due to the decreasing remaining capacity of waste disposal sites and administrative campaigns.
    - Residents of Chiba Prefecture were performing established sorting and separate collection of wastes and recyclable waste collection by community groups. The prefecture's waste recycling rate has long been higher than that of other prefectures. Waste recycling has become an established part of daily life in the prefecture.
  • Wealth of waste treatment techniques within the prefecture
    - In Chiba Prefecture, there were many intermediate waste treatment facilities and disposal sites because of wastes from Tokyo and many businesses with various waste treatment techniques developed in the prefecture. Since the prefecture's wastes were also being recycled at a high rate, there was the potential for viable recycling businesses.
  • Private-sector businesses' initiatives in developing new recycling businesses
    - New recycling businesses were mostly proposed by private companies.
    - Local companies were involved in recycling businesses, and took the initiative in setting up waste collection routes.
    - The prefectural government set up information exchange opportunities to listen to the views and requests of the business sector on waste treatment and to provide information including future plans from the prefectural government to the business sector.
  • Introduction of recycling businesses simultaneously with the replacement of existing municipal waste treatment facilities
    - A direct melting facility was built as a municipal waste treatment facility to collectively replace individual waste treatment facilities owned by municipal governments, instead of remodeling them. This made waste treatment more efficient than by individual municipalities. Moreover, the quantity of recycled products produced at the melting facility increased.
  • Collaboration with existing industries
    - A waste recycling plan was drawn up to make optimal use of waste as a raw material for steelmaking in the steel manufacturing process of existing steelworks. The plan led to the efficient use of existing steelmaking facilities.
    - It became unnecessary to seek to secure new markets for slag from waste recycling process by collaborating with existing steel corporations, which made it possible to sell the slag jointly with blast furnace slag generated in their steelworks.
  • Development of recycling businesses in line with the characteristics of wastes generated in the prefecture
    - There are many disused farm machines in Chiba Prefecture, since agriculture is a major industry here.
    - Chiba Prefecture has many golf courses which dispose of many disused golf carts.
    - Recycling businesses have been founded in line with the characteristics of these wastes. 
Unique efforts and initiatives for eco-town development
  • Consistency with relevant master plans
    • In 2002, the Chiba Prefectural Government laid down the Waste Treatment Plan in Chiba Prefecture and the Resource Recycling Society Development Plan in Chiba Prefecture. In these plans, the eco-town program was treated as one of the priority issues.
  • Cooperation with related divisions in the prefectural government and municipal governments
    • The waste management division of the prefectural government is in charge of the eco-town program. When implementing the program, the division worked in cooperation with related divisions as follows:
      • Coordination with the ports & harbors division concerning the construction of recycling facilities in coastal areas
      • Promotion of the use of recycled cement by construction related divisions and municipal governments
      • Collaboration with the waste recycling promotion program implemented by the Chiba City Government (for bio gasification of food/organic waste and gasification and melting of industrial waste)
  • Coordination with local residents living in the vicinity of recycling facilities
    • In the initial stage of the eco-town program, it was necessary to gain local residents' understanding of recycling facilities. After providing thorough explanations to relieve their concerns, we obtained their understanding
Future prospects
  • The quantity of waste is affected by business fluctuations and progress in waste reduction.
  • The Chiba Prefectural Government will continue to take various policy approaches in order to facilitate practical 3R efforts through collaboration with residents, businesses, etc. and the use of biomass for building a resource recycling society. Furthermore, the prefectural government intends to promote proper treatment, reduction and recycling of industrial waste by providing instructions to waste-producing businesses. 

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