The concept of environmental conscious materials, ecomaterials, was born in 1992 and developed in Japan. It has aimed at the integration of materials, environment and human being. In this review, Japanese concept of nature and environmental awareness based on it are introduced, and the roles to be played by Japanese civilization and ecomaterials toward sustainable societies are disclosed.
The concept and new categorization of environmental conscious materials, ecomaterials, are reviewed. The robust design of materials of which is proposed as a part of new activities in ecomaterials is focused on. Then subjects on the robust design of structural materials are discussed. Novel process technologies building high performance and/or service with low environmental burden are necessary. The secondary materials accepted for recycling and should be considered to improve resource productivity and long-life materials.
Objective. The evaluation structure is clarified as green products of the steel material referring to the specific procurement article in Law on Promoting Green Purchasing and the data of EcoMark-certified product.
Results and Discussion. As for the environmental performance that has already been generalized, it is scheduled not to evaluate it in the commodity recognition standard of the eco-mark. The recyclability of the steel material is not evaluated from this policy. However, it was pointed out that recycling also included a cascade recycle and the horizontal recycling, and the material that was able to be recycled horizontally was few. It was pointed out that the steel material was one of the very few products that were able to be recycled horizontally. We judged the method of appropriately evaluating an environmental performance of the steel material with a high recyclability not to be established. However, even if it is a popular technology and a product, Law on Promoting Green Purchasing buys the product with small environmental load. The possibility of the steel material to be used by Law on Promoting Green Purchasing is high. As for the evaluation approach concerning a current ecomaterial, it still especially thought development of the horizontal recycling to be on the way from the above-mentioned viewpoint.
Conclusions. The maximum environmental performance of the steel material is to be able to recycle horizontally. However, the technique to evaluate the height of the recycling performance of the steel material appropriately is not satisfactorily developed. We should develop the method of suitably evaluating an environmental performance of horizontal recycling of the steel material in the future.
Highly functional bioplastics have been developed to be widely used in durable products. We have improved practical properties including mechanical and thermal properties and flame retardancy of polylactic acid（PLA）and added its new functions such as shape memory and heat diffusion by using unique additives, kenaf fiber, aluminum hydroxide and multilayered nano-sized fillers, while fully preserving its high biomass-based component ratio and chemical safety. Furthermore, a bioplastic composed of non-food plant resources with stable supply was produced by bonding cellulose and cardanol, a primary component of cashew nut shells.
Woodceramics（WCMs here after）is developed with the aim of the carbon material with superb functionality and value-added using organic waste. In this paper, fabrication process, properties and some application of WCMs are introduced. WCMs are environmentally conscious composite materials（ecomaterials）designed for minimizing the environmental impacts and one of the important materials to accelerate the creation of a recycling society.
Recently, mass occurrences of jellyfishes are frequently reported from everywhere all over the world. They are believed to be caused by global environmental changes including overfishing that is the most probable reason. Biomass of jellyfish increased and now is accumulating as marine wastes and its use as food or resources is now coming to be considered. This article critically analyses the present situation of this issue with ecological, environmental, economic, and social points of view. Among these, the possibility of extraction of useful materials with high additional values is discussed. Finally, we introduce our new findings of novel jellyfish mucin（qniumucin）in the last part of this article.
Environmental pollution is a constant problem, since it affects human health and the sustainable development of both society and economy. Therefore, simple, inexpensive, rapid responsive and portable sensors or collectors for monitoring toxic species are critical issue. Selective colorimetric sensor attracted much interest due to the use of “low-tech” spectroscopic instrumentation. In this review, we discussed the different rational approaches for developing the colorimetric and fluorescence sensors. Interestingly, highly sensitive, low cost, simple nanosensor designs were successfully developed by the immobilization of hydrophobic and hydrophilic chromophore molecules into spherically nanosized cage cavities and surfaces. These classes of optical monolith sensors exhibited long-term stability of signaling and recognition functionalities that in general provided extraordinary sensitivity, selectivity, reusability, and fast kinetic detection of cadmium in different matrices. The significant key factors for development of receptors as “indicator dyes” and surface-confinement materials as “carriers” to broadening the applicability of optical chemical sensors were reported. Such optical sensors offer a possibility of simultaneous pre-concentration and quantification of a target analyte with a minimum sample manipulation, reasonable selectivity and improved sensitivity without using any reference devices.
Objective. The present paper aims to introduce the use and applications of the web-database for ecomaterials, namely Eco-MCPS. The freely accessible ecomaterials’ database was created by the Ecomaterials Forum on 2006; since then, it has provided information on environment-conscious materials which are linked to products, components, or services via the environmental performance. The database can be searched by product categories, environmental categories, life cycle stage categories, and key categories in which products are linked with each other by key components. Thus, the trend in social consciousness on ecomaterials can be understood by analyzing the access log in relation with the text data compiled in the database.
Results and Discussion. The following results were obtained:（1）The social interest on environment have changed from “global warming” in 2008-09 to “energy-saving” in 2009-11, and then to “recyclable materials” in 2011-12.（2）Association analysis reveals the items related to each other, which are of peoples’ interest.
Conclusions. The current work showed the applicability of Eco-MCPS in analyzing the social consciousness on ecomaterials and related products. However, it was also found necessary to implement the database with additional data such as those related to LCA, which provides detailed and up-to-date information for the database users.
The whole world economic game is globalizing so rapidly that the nation sovereign is impinged by the capitalism and the information stampede from both domestic and international. We have promoted a recycling-oriented society to the present as for the establishment of advocacy planning from the activity of Earth System Ryokuin-Juku. We will point out to have the global environmental governance; we have to solve the problems such as the deterioration in the global environment, economic disparities between the North and the South, encroachment of nation sovereignty. Then, we will find the way to realize the sustainable society in which human and many forms of life can coexist.
The visualization of CO2 emission in the lifestyle including food is thought recently to be essential for the sustainable society. In this paper, the estimation methods of the CO2 emission for cooking in the household, especially for gas cooking such as “boil and steam”, “broil and stir-fry”, “deep fry(like tempra)” and “grill and oven” were developed based on the theoretical energy consumption to raise the food stuff temperature, which were calculated using their heat capacity and latent heat of the food stuffs and the energy efficiency of each gas cooker. The calculated values of the CO2 emission using the estimation methods proposed in this paper corresponded well with the experimental values shown in the literatures. This estimation method is not only useful to show the consumers the CO2 emission of the menu of household, but also might be useful to estimate the CO2 emission of the menu in the restaurant.
Background, Aim and Scope. As an infrastructure of inventory data exchange, database management systems have been developed by governmental organizations, not-for-profit organizations, amongst others. Users can trust these systems since inventory data is registered after the database management body reviews the inventory data. However, timing of database revision and selection of an appropriate inventory data are controlled by member of the management body. Therefore, the openness of the system is also restricted. On the other hand, an open data exchange system, like Scenario I in the Shonan Guidance principle, says that it encourages data creation from the bottom-up with collective wisdom. However, reliability of the system is relatively low in this case. Therefore, ensuring compatibility with reliability and openness is important for data management systems. To address the issue, we developed and released this system. Materials and Methods. To protect unintended data change after it is disclosed to the public, each inventory data provider can manage a data editor in the system. An inventory data provider may use a default inventory database, “IDEA”, to conceal intermediate flows. The default database supports consistency of the background data in the disclosed inventory data. Before being registered to the open inventory data library in the central server of the system, inventory data can be marked according to its review status. A specific review status can be added by a system user with a specifically coded reviewer key. A user may utilize the filtering function based on review status if inventory data users prefer to find a relatively-reliable inventory data. Downloaded data is imported to the LCA software and used in a system user’s LCA study. Results and Discussion. The above-mentioned system is made and released as an infrastructure for encouraging inventory data exchange among LCA practitioners. As of November 2013, over 100 inventory data entries have been voluntarily uploaded by system users, such as an industry association and a private company, to the open inventory data library. Conclusions. The data management system ensuring compatibility with reliability and openness is designed and released. Recommendations and Perspectives. Producing good-governance of the data management system and providing incentives for contributing the system are needed to increase both the number of datasets available to the public and the reliability of the database itself.