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Data Entry: November 2011

Law for Promotion to Recover and Utilize Recyclable Food Resources
(Food Recycling Law)

I. Purpose

The Food Recycling Law came into force in May 2001 to facilitate efforts made by food-related businesses (engaged in manufacturing and distributing food products or providing catering and restaurant services) toward recycling recyclable food resources.

More specifically, the Law encourages food-related businesses to restrain or reduce the production of food waste, such as large volumes of unsold or uneaten food waste that occur in food production processes, and to recycle them as raw materials for animal feed and fertilizer. Some results have been achieved since the enforcement of the Law. However, in food distribution, downstream businesses generate food waste in small and varying quantities, so their recycling rate remains low. Against this backdrop, the Food Recycling Law was revised in 2007 to strengthen guidance and supervision of food-related businesses and facilitate recycling.

II. Outline of the Law

(1) Establishment of basic policies

[1] The Law sets forth that the competent minister shall establish basic policies to promote the recycling of recyclable food resources in a comprehensive and well-organized manner.
In the new basic policies established in November 2007, recycling volume targets (by sector) are 85%, 45%, 70%, and 40% for food manufacturers, food retailers, food wholesalers, and catering services/restaurants, respectively. These figures indicate levels for sectors to achieve through a concerted systematic recycling effort made by individual businesses in accordance with the ordinance that sets applicable criteria.

Recycling rate targets (also referred to as "standard recycling rates") are determined for individual food-related businesses using the standard recycling rates set for the preceding year.

Standard recycling rates for each year
= Standard recycling rates for preceding year
+ Additional points assigned according to standard recycling rates for preceding year

Preceding year's standard recycling rate class

Additional points

Businesses at 20% to <50%

2 %

* Inaugural year: FY 2008

* If the recycling rate is less than 20% for FY 2007, the standard recycling rate is deemed to be 20% for the purpose of calculation.

Businesses at 50% to <80%

1 %

Businesses at 80% or more

Maintain or improve

[2] The national government is required to provide funds, collect, sort and use information, and conduct public relations for promoting the recycling, etc. of recyclable food resources.

(2) Recycling, etc. by food-related businesses

[1] Food-related businesses are required to work on recycling, etc. in accordance with the criteria established by the competent minister (Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Minister of the Environment, or the like). Such criteria provide for recycling principles, targets for recycling, etc. of recyclable food materials, methods of restricting waste generation, specified fertilizer/feedstuff production standards, and the like.

"Food-related businesses"
[2] Food-related business operators who produce large quantities of food waste (bulk generator which produces 100 tons/year or more of food waste) are required to submit a regular annual report to the competent minister, stating the quantity of food waste produced and their recycling efforts. For food-related franchise chain business operators, whether a franchise business is a bulk generator or not is determined by the amount of food waste generated by the franchisees.
[3] The competent minister has the right to provide instructions and advice, if deemed necessary, to food-related business operators.
[4] The competent minister has the right to issue recommendations to, publicly identify, and give orders to bulk generators if their level of recycling is deemed to be significantly low with respect to the applicable standard.

(3) Measures for recycling

[1] Recycling business registration system
The recycling business registration system is designed to facilitate recycling contracts by registering businesses that produce fertilizers and feedstuff from recyclable food resources. The special provisions of the Waste Management Law, etc. (no permit requirement for transportation destination, prior fee notification system instead of maximum fee regulations, and prohibition of discriminatory treatment) and special provisions of the Fertilizer Regulation Law and the Law Concerning Safety Assurance and Quality Improvement of Feeds (no production and sale notification requirement) are applicable to registered businesses.

[2] Recycling business plan approval system
This system is intended to encourage food-related businesses, jointly with fertilizer/feedstuff producers or persons engaged in agriculture, forestry or fisheries, to draw up, and obtain approval for, their recycling business plans covering ensured use of agricultural, stock farm and fishery products. The special provisions of the Waste Management Law, etc. (no permit requirement for waste collection sources, in addition to the special provisions mentioned in [1]) and special provisions of the Fertilizer Regulation Law and the Law Concerning Safety Assurance and Quality Improvement of Feeds are applicable to food-related businesses.

Conceptual Diagram of the Food Recycling Law

Conceptual Diagram of the Food Recycling Law
(Source: "Japan's 3R Initiatives" published by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan)

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