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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 Sapporo City Government
Department in charge of eco-town program Planning Section, Environmental Planning & Waste Management Department, Environmental Bureau
Approval of eco-town plan September 1998
Target area of eco-town program Sapporo Recycling Complex: 0.23 km2
Locations of waste recycling facilities Sapporo Recycling Complex
Waste recycling facilities

Waste processing facilities in the Sapporo Recycling Complex: 13 facilities

  • Separating plastics
    Separating and compressing recyclable plastics from waste plastic containers and packaging that are sorted and collected from households
  • Separating mixed waste paper
    Separating and compressing recyclable waste paper derived from mixed waste paper that is sorted and collected from households
  • Separating glass bottles, cans, and PET bottles
    Separating, categorizing, and compressing recyclable glass bottles, cans, and PET bottles from sorted and collected glass bottles, cans, and PET bottles
  • Turning PET bottles into flakes
    Processing recyclable PET bottles from those that have been sorted and collected into PET flakes
  • Recycling PET flakes
    Manufacturing PET sheets from PET flakes
  • Recycling waste concrete
    Shredding waste concrete and removing metals to recycle the materials into construction materials
  • Recycling food waste
    Recycling food waste generated from schools, hotels, restaurants, food factories, etc. into cattle feed by heating and drying the food waste using waste cooking oil
  • Recycling scrap tires
    Chopping up and processing scrap tires into fuel and raw materials for cement kilns
  • Recycling waste oil
    Manufacturing recycled oil equivalent to Heavy Oil A by humidifying and distilling waste engine oil generated from gas stations and vehicle maintenance and repair shops
  • Organic sludge processing
    Drying organic sludge from food factories, etc. with steam via indirect heating to reduce its volume
  • Inorganic sludge processing
    Compressing and dehydrating inorganic sludge generated from construction works, etc. to reduce its volume
  • Recycling inorganic sludge
    Recycling inorganic sludge into road base materials, etc. by cement stabilization
  • Incineration of specific industrial wastes
    Incinerating waste plastics, construction scrap materials, waste oil, waste fluids, etc. generated from construction sites and factories, etc.
Background of starting eco-town program
  • Shortage of waste disposal sites
    • In Sapporo City, the volume of waste generated has continued to increase in line with population growth. In around 1990, a shortage of waste disposal sites became a serious problem for the city, while the processing of industrial waste transported from other municipalities antagonized those living near waste disposal sites.
  • Environmental policy set by the City of Sapporo
    • The basic environment ordinance of the City of Sapporo (enacted in 1995) provided for progress in the cyclical use of resources and waste reduction as a basic policy of environmental conservation.
    • The Sapporo City Environmental Master Plan formulated in 1998 provided for "achievement of a recycling-oriented city" and "achievement of a participation- and cooperation-based city" as Sapporo's vision toward an eco-conscious city.
  • Revision of the Sapporo City Municipal Solid Waste Management Master Plan
    • In Japan, the Waste Management and Public Cleansing Law (national law) requires local governments to formulate basic plans for processing municipal solid waste. In 1999, the City of Sapporo started to revise its basic plan.
    • In revising the basic plan, the city reviewed (i) promotion of efforts to curb and reduce waste generation and recycle waste and (ii) a new community based system and approach.
  • Availability of a site for waste recycling facilities
    • The construction of new waste recycling facilities often faces difficulties due to opposition from residents as well as legal restrictions.
    • In 1993, Sapporo City Government decided to build a recycling complex so that waste recycling facilities can be located close to one another on a single site. In the city development plan, the city designated a site for the complex, and then developed the site between 1994 and 1996.
  • Enactment of a recycling law (national law)
    • In 1995, the Containers and Packaging Recycling Law (national law) was enacted, partially enforced in three phases (in 1995, 1996, and 1997), and fully enforced in 2000. The law covered glass bottles and PET bottles from 1997, and was scheduled to cover paper/plastic containers and packaging from 2000.
    • Under the law, the City of Sapporo decided to sort and collect plastic containers and packaging as well as PET bottles. However, it was necessary to improve facilities for recycling the materials.
  • A framework for the eco-town program created by the national government
    • In 1997, the framework for the eco-town program initiated by the national government was created by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment to grant national government subsidies to local governments for carrying out recycling efforts.
Basic concepts for eco-town development To embody the vision of community building in harmony with the environment, based on zero emissions
  • Efforts are being made to build a resource recycling society toward zero emissions within the region, and to revitalize the economy by attracting environmental industries, etc.
  • Various recycling processes, which are the cornerstone of the eco-town plan, are carried out in the Sapporo Recycling Complex (an industrial complex dedicated for recycling businesses).
  • The eco-town program is expected to facilitate the flow of waste processing and promote resource recycling. Meanwhile, efforts to achieve zero emissions are expected to extend the service life of landfill sites and help reduce the amount of waste to be incinerated, thus reducing environmental impact.
  • A network will be built for providing information on waste reduction and recycling, to raise citizens' awareness and encourage their active participation in building a recycling society.


    Initial conceptual diagram of waste recycling in the eco-town plan
Programs for promoting eco-town development
  • Public relations programs for promoting sorting and collection
    • Various public relations programs are organized to encourage citizens to sort waste, raise their awareness of recycling, and promote understanding and active participation in building a resource recycling society.
  • A program for producing community leaders who promote environmental cleanup campaigns
    • This program is intended to support community leaders in conducting environmental cleanup activities and to build a framework that enables community residents to work together, in order to promote environmental cleanup as well as waste reduction and recycling.
  • Building the Sapporo waste information network
    • A waste information network is being built for (i) providing information to citizens who work on waste reduction and recycling and (ii) publicizing unique activities in schools, workplaces and communities.
Major success factors
  • Availability of recyclable waste
    • Sapporo City has a large population (about 1.9 million as of 2011), and large amounts of recyclable waste are generated.
  • Leadership taken by the local government, and cooperation from residents, in sorting and collecting waste
    • For years, Sapporo City Government has worked actively on the sorting and collection of waste. The city started to lend empty bottle collection boxes in 1988, started installing empty can collection boxes at supermarkets and elementary schools, etc. in 1991, and began sorting and collecting glass bottles, cans, and PET bottles in 1998.
    • With these efforts by Sapporo City Government, the sorting and collection of waste by residents was already well under way.
  • Availability of a site for waste recycling facilities
    • The Sapporo Recycling Complex (which was already in place) facilitated the construction of waste recycling facilities by recyclers.
Unique efforts and initiatives for eco-town development
  • Support for private companies to locate in the recycling complex
    • Land lots in the Sapporo Recycling Complex were leased, not sold, to reduce the initial investment required by recyclers to establish new waste recycling facilities.
    • Note that the recycling complex requires recyclers to conduct environmental impact assessments and comply with ambient environmental standards equivalent to those in urbanized areas.
  • Use of recycled products by local government
    • Recycled fuel from waste plastics (manufactured by recyclers) was used at sludge incinerators in the city's public sewage treatment plant.
  • Raising citizens' awareness and distributing information
    Sapporo City Government is carrying out the following programs to raise citizens' awareness and disseminate information:

(1) Public relations programs for promoting the sorting and collection of waste

  • Distributing pamphlets to all households describing sorting methods and precautions in waste sorting and collection
  • Distributing leaflets at events organized by the city and residents' festivals in respective wards, etc.
  • Displaying the slogan and logo for promoting sorting and collection on waste collection vehicles and uniforms worn by waste collection staff

(2) Program for training community leaders who promote environmental cleanup campaigns

  • Sapporo City Government supports activities of Clean Sapporo Sanitation Promoters (leaders of community residents) to promote environmental cleanup, waste reduction, and recycling. The city also organizes programs in cooperation with the promoters (about 3,000 individuals as of today).

(3) Building the Sapporo waste information network

  • A recycling plaza was set up to serve as (i) a venue for exhibitions on waste reduction, sorting, and recycling, (ii) a center for distributing information to citizens, (iii) a center of recycling activities by citizens, and (iv) a market for exchanging unwanted items including furniture.

(4) Other activities

  • Waste plastics and glass bottles/cans/PET bottles are collected from households on different dates to encourage residents to sort waste carefully.
  • Patrol teams of city officials were set up to offer guidance and instructions to residents about sorting waste.
Future prospects
  • The goals are to "accelerate efforts to curb waste generation and emissions" and "establish a framework for waste collection and processing" to create a resource recycling society with low environmental impact.
  • Affected by economic cycles, recyclers face the challenge of stabilizing their businesses.

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