Global Environment Centre Foundation

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

Data Entry: November 2011
Name of local government Toyama City Government
Department in charge of eco-town program Waste Management Group, Environment Policy Department, Environment Division
Approval of eco-town plan May 2002
(partially revised in November 2004 and September 2005)
Target area of eco-town program Whole area of Toyama City: 1,241 km2
Locations of waste recycling facilities Toyama City Eco-Town Industrial Park: 18 ha
Waste recycling facilities

8 facilities (as of December 2010)

  • Recycling waste plastics
    Recovering plastic raw materials (PP/PE/PS pellets, PP/PE flakes) from plastic waste
  • Recycling waste wood
    Manufacturing charcoal boards and charcoal for various applications from (i) wood waste from demolished residential houses, (ii) wood waste from industries, (iii) driftwood in dams, (iv) forest thinnings, and (v) pruned branches
  • Recycling food waste and pruned branches
    Recovering biogas and producing compost from food waste (generated from retailers and food-service industries) and organic waste (generated from food manufacturing industries)
  • Recycling used automobiles
    Disassembling used automobiles and removing auto-parts to ensure sorted recovery, such as steel materials, aluminum materials, other non-ferrous metals, plastic materials, glass materials, fabric, seat materials, urethane, tires, oil, and fuel
  • Recycling mixed textile waste and mixed plastic waste
    Manufacturing refuse derived fuel (RDF) from mixed textile waste, waste plastics, paper waste, woodchips, and their mixed waste
  • Recycling waste synthetic rubber
    Manufacturing rubber chips (to be used as fuel) from waste synthetic rubber and waste tires
  • Recycling waste cooking oil
    Manufacturing biodiesel fuel (BDF) from waste cooking oil
  • Waste Energy Center
    Incinerating industrial waste and residue from recycling processes that are difficult to recycle, and generating electricity from waste heat

Waste recycling facilities under the Toyama City eco-town program

Background of starting eco-town program
  • Shortage of waste disposal sites
    • Toyama City faced a serious shortage of waste disposal sites and it was difficult to secure new sites. The city therefore needed to improve its recycling to reduce waste incineration and landfill waste.
  • Expected demand for recycled products
    • The Toyama region is home to many material industries including plastics processing, petroleum-related, and aluminum manufacturing companies, so there was expected to be high demand for recycled products as raw materials for these industries.
    • Agriculture is a major industry in Toyama Prefecture, which made it possible to promote recycling of agriculture-related resources (including recycling of agricultural materials).
    • Because the region has a cold and damp climate, there was expected to be high demand for recycled charcoal for heating and controlling humidity, etc.
  • 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 help establish resource recycling facilities while giving priority to recycling in the region, and thereby achieve "Toyama, a city friendly to people and the environment"

(1) Promoting an initiative that gives priority to recycling in the region
The Toyama City eco-town program is intended to secure users of recycled products (primarily local material industries such as plastics processing, petroleum-related, and aluminum manufacturing companies as well as agricultural and housing construction companies) and to establish waste recycling facilities, to ensure that recovered resources are reused as recycled products (i.e., resource recycling) in the region.
To promote recycling in the region, the public sector takes the initiative in expanding the use of recycled products, promoting green procurement, and involving and assisting private businesses, etc.

(2) Achieving "Toyama, a city friendly to people and the environment," based on citizens' experience and activities
The Toyama City eco-town program is intended to utilize citizens' experience and activities, and to raise their awareness about recycling. The program also encourages waste reduction and recycling activities across the region, the use of recycled products, and awareness campaigns, etc. on waste reduction and reuse. The ultimate goal is to achieve "Toyama, a city friendly to people and the environment."

(3) Reusing materials on a step-by-step basis and effective utilization of waste energy
The Toyama City eco-town program promotes the reuse of materials on a step-by-step basis in collaboration with recycling businesses.

(4) Taking commercial viability into consideration
The Toyama City eco-town program fully takes into account the economic trends and business profitability, to ensure ongoing commercial viability. The subsidy/financing programs offered by the national government, Toyama Prefectural Government, and Toyama City, etc. are effectively used, and citizens, businesses, and local governments work on activities together.

(5) Promoting collaboration between recyclers and consumers
Even if waste is sorted and collected, resource recycling cannot succeed unless the resulting products are consumed. Toyama City therefore focuses on raising awareness of recyclers and consumers (who purchase recycled products) and facilitating their collaboration.

(6) Disclosing information
In promoting the eco-town program, Toyama City Government builds consensus with residents on matters ranging from attracting businesses and constructing factories, to administering the program, to give citizens a sense of security while ensuring environmental conservation. Also, environmental information is publicized to help citizens understand the program's safety and build confidence.

Programs for promoting eco-town development
  • Awareness-raising programs
    Giving explanations and raising awareness of residents about waste sorting, etc.; encouraging the use of recycled products; commissioning entities to promote waste reduction, etc.; subsidizing the installation of equipment for manufacturing products using waste as raw materials; raising the awareness of companies about waste reduction and recycling; providing eco-related information via the internet; promoting environmental education and learning via nature and science programs, etc.; assisting school activities; preparing supplementary readers for elementary school students about waste reduction and recycling
  • Eco-town interactive promotion programs
    Hosting plant tours at waste recycling facilities; exhibiting recycled products; renting out study rooms/exhibition rooms
  • Northwest Pacific region environmental communications promotion programs
    Gathering the latest information about environmental conservation; building a network with environment-related entities around the world; creating eco-related new industries by using the latest information; helping citizens to develop an international perspective
Major success factors
  • High levels of eco-awareness among citizens, and guidance/instructions actively given by local governments to ensure sorting and collection of waste
    • In the past, Toyama Prefecture suffered river pollution by cadmium released from mines, which caused diseases in many residents living downstream. Having successfully overcome this pollution problem, local citizens are very aware of the environment.
  • Guidance/instructions actively given by local governments to ensure sorting and collection of waste
    • In 1985, Toyama became the first city in Japan to start sorting and collecting waste containers and packaging. In 1999, the city built a unique system for sorting and collecting paper containers and packaging and using them as raw materials for paper. Thus, city residents were well aware of and involved in sorting and collecting waste with the strong leadership of local government before the eco-town program started.
  • "Establishment of a recycling society" included in the city's environmental master plan
    • The basic goals of the Toyama City Environmental Master Plan, which was drawn up in 1998, included "establishing a recycling society via resource conservation, energy conservation, recycling, etc." and "providing eco-related information and enhancing environmental education and learning, etc., thereby promoting community building that enables every citizen to actively participate in conserving and creating the environment on a voluntary basis."
  • Collaboration among departments in local government in attracting recyclers
    • The city's waste management department and industry promotion department worked together to attract recyclers.
Unique efforts and initiatives for eco-town development
  • Collecting information in advance about recyclable waste, and supplying information to private companies
    • There were few companies in Toyama City that specialized in recycling, so the city solicited recycling business proposals from local companies.
    • In advance, detailed preliminary surveys were conducted on the volume of recyclable waste generated, and information and data were provided to companies to help them make such proposals.
    • Recyclers were given guidance/instructions to conduct adequate preliminary surveys about potential demand for recycled products.
  • Collaboration with academia
    • A committee was set up to select the best recycling business proposals. Consisting of academic experts from local universities such as University of Toyama and Toyama Prefectural University, the committee reviewed the proposals for achieving a smooth recycling process in the region.
  • Securing a site for the eco-town industrial complex
    • The city secured a site for the eco-town industrial complex so that recyclers can cheaply purchase or rent plots for recycling facilities.
  • Support from local government to recyclers
    • The city government designated recycled products as priority items to be procured by the city and used in public projects.
    • The city government designated recyclers in the eco-town industrial complex as priority facilities to process municipal solid waste generated in the city.
  • Building consensus with residents
    • In constructing waste recycling facilities in the eco-town industrial complex, an environmental conservation agreement was concluded among the city government, recyclers, and residents. Recyclers conduct eco-conscious operations in compliance with the agreement.
  • Helping residents and citizens understand recycling
    • To help residents and citizens better understand the value of recycling businesses, the city government and recyclers host plant tours in the eco-town industrial complex as well as "eco-town campus" programs (eco-related experience-based courses).
    • The Eco-town Communication Promotion Center was established in the eco-town industrial complex. Recycled products are exhibited, and study rooms/exhibition rooms are available for rent. The city and recyclers actively welcome visitors.
Future prospects
  • In 2007, Toyama City drew up the Toyama City Biomass Town Initiative to promote the use of biomass in locally suitable ways.
  • In 2008, Toyama City was selected by the national government as an environmental model city. The Toyama City environmental model city action plan was created to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and prevent global warming. This plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in combination with various local government plans, including Toyama City Master Plan (the city's supreme plan), Toyama City Environmental Master Plan (a priority plan in the city's environmental policy), and Toyama City Urban Master Plan (a priority plan in the city's urban policy).

Maintained by Global Environment Centre Foundation (GEC)