The Eco Mark program, which the Japan Environment Association undertakes, is managed in accordance with ISO14024. Certification criteria for every product category have taken the environmental burden at each the life stage (resource extraction, manufacture, distribution, use, disposal, recycling) of products into consideration. The Eco Mark is popular with public organization and companies use the Eco Mark as a guide of “green” procurement. However, currently the general consuming public rarely takes it as criterion when they buy things. So we examined valuation of the “Eco Mark” by consumers and corporations through survey we have conducted. We think the Eco Mark is going to link the general consuming public to companies in years to come more widely.
As the waste issue is site-dependent problem, the waste treatment policy of each municipal tends to determined independently. However, it is important to check the effect of the policy not only to the municipal itself but also to the whole society. In this study, we proposed the evaluation method of the municipal policy by using interregional waste input-output (IR-WIO) analysis. As a case example, we choose LCA of garbage disposal for household use. We assume that garbage disposals are used in households in Tokyo, and examine the effect for the economic activities and the environmental loads to Tokyo and other regions. Our computational results show that, if the compost generated by the garbage disposal is used in households, the environmental loads decrease in Tokyo, but increase in the other regions which cause, in total, decrease of CO2 emission as the whole society. However, if the compost generated by the garbage disposal is emitted as general wastes, the decrease of the environmental loads is much less than in the former case, then the environmental loads increase as the whole society. We found that our assumed policy makes positive beneficial effects on the economic activities and the reduction of waste in the whole society.
Sales of household machines combining both washing and drying functions have increased rapidly in recent years due to an increasing number of women working, an increasing number of single-person households, and the appeal of these machines in terms of reducing the burden of housework. In this study, we examined ways to reduce environmental and economic effects by applying social LCA to the entire life cycle, including clothing-related factors, by comparing the new type of washer-dryer incorporating a heat-pump unit with traditional type of washer-dryer and separate gas dryer. The mechanical action of washer-dryers was evaluated by measuring the unraveling of MA test pieces and the rate of shrinkage of shirt collars as an indication of the effects on clothing. Electric power and water consumption were measured for each washer-dryer cycle. The unit prices for washer-dryers, detergent, and clothes were obtained via market research. The social LCA results indicated that CO2 emissions were higher for machine usage than for manufacture, for all types of washer-dryer. The results also showed that greater damage to clothing was caused during the drying process compared to washing alone, and the drying process also greatly increased overall CO2 emissions. The study also showed that heat-pump washer-dryers with short, low-temperature drying cycles were effective in reducing CO2 emissions by approximately half due to their lower energy consumption and mechanical power compared to conventional washer-dryers. The Life cycle costing (LCC) results showed that using heat-pump washer-dryers for both washing and drying reduced costs compared to conventional washer-dryer or gas dryer.
Public interests on introducing sustainable agriculture have recently been increasing especially in Shiga prefecture, Japan, where the green payments program for certified eco-farmer started in 2004. It is essential to introduce a comparable method so that we can evaluate an environmental improvement brought by the alternative practices. In this study, we compare the environmental impact induced by conventional and by sustainable rice paddy field cultivation that reduces the use of fertilizer and water consumption. The inventory analysis is applied throughout the cultivation process and the fertilizer production process for nitrogen, phosphorus, energy consumption, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Furthermore, we specified those substances in eutrophication of water system impact, global warming impact and energy consumption indices. By each of specified indices, environmental impacts of both agricultures are evaluated quantitatively. As a result, it is clarified that large part of energy consumption in rice paddy field cultivation results from agrochemical and fertilizer production process, therefore, the reduction of agrochemical and fertilizer application is effective to decrease energy consumption. In addition, the reduction rates of energy consumption, eutrophication potential and global warming potential are estimated quantitatively. This result clearly shows that introduction of water conservation method can mitigate not only eutrophication potential of water system but also global warming potential and energy consumption.