This paper indicates the direction to be taken in order to cope with several main problems that remain with regard to the Packaging Waste Recycling Act. The paper also takes into consideration the Extended Producer Responsibility. Firstly, in order to promote reduction of packaging waste, decision-making criteria by the competent ministers must be improved and, as was done in Germany and France, the commission expenses of each enterprise must be calculated for re-merchandising, while also considering the environmental burden. Secondly, to reduce the number of free-riding enterprises, it is necessary to introduce a green-dot system for all packaging. This mark would indicate that the producer or distributor has paid the commission expenses for re-merchandising. Thirdly, in order to avoid duplication of tasks undertaken by municipalities and enterprises for sorting packaging waste, the tasks must be integrated and the enterprises should be required to carry out the integrated task work. Fourthly, the present system of financial contributions from enterprises to municipalities is not structurally sustainable and the total amount of contributions has decreased drastically. It is absolutely necessary at this time to amend the provision for the contribution system in the Act. Fifthly, to secure the effective use of resources, along with the reduction of environmental burden and the reduction of social costs, it is necessary to distinguish between the resources for material recycling and those for chemical recycling. Technologies for sorting waste must also be improved.
The National Network for the Promotion of the 3Rs for Containers and Packaging resumed activities after a 5-year gap to review amendments to the Containers and Packaging Recycling Law (2006). After petitioning for a review of the law and promotion of the 2Rs at the Diet in 2011, our network submitted an amendment drawn up by citizens. The first amendment by citizens was compiled in July 2012. According to recommendations from seminars and the international forum on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), a proposal for the second revision was completed in April 2013. The draft mentions the need for rethinking allocation of roles, based on fundamental principles of EPR, and switching priorities from Recycling to Reducing, Reusing, etc. The depth interview survey, studying trends among average citizens, suggests that the 3R concept is not popular; people choose goods and disposal and separation locations based on economy and convenience. The proposal for the last amendment is currently being revised and is scheduled for completion in March 2014. The advisory review body convened again in September 2013. Though citizen groups and local governments supporting EPR are thought to be against businesses, it is a discussion worth continuing.
Retail businesses are implementing a charge system as an environmental scheme for curbing the huge amount of plastic bags being generated at shops. In addition, Aeon G have even implemented a biomassing system that handles the raw materials from shopping bags. At a stakeholders meeting I attended, a body assessing the desired division of roles among individuals confirmed that in doing this, there are “social cost reduction effects” as well as “an effect of spurring self-transformation in individuals.” In light of the global situation, Consumer Goods Forum advocates a triple bottom line regarding the future of packaging, as indicated by the Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability. The role of retailers will be enhanced to include implementation of environmentally conscious designs while continuing to follow major container functions, commencing with food preservation, and also cooperation in giving consumers clear information. WRAP (Waste Resources Action Program) in the United Kingdom is a program that links local governments, businesses and consumers to promote ecological design and reduction of environmental impact. This example of cooperation between the various bodies is one Japan should refer to and learn from. Lastly, this paper proposes three points with regard to the need for setting targets and solving problems in Asia and other related topics such as the introduction of CSV.
We rely on various types of plastics to support our modern lifestyles. With the innovations happening in the field of petrochemical technology, plastic production is diversifying day by day. However, the current plastic recycling law in Japan, known as “Act on the Promotion of Sorted Collection and Recycling of Containers and Packaging” (Containers and Packaging Recycling Law), is defining the priorities behind plastic recycling techniques (mechanical recycling > feedstock recycling > energy recovery) without taking into consideration the properties of these different waste plastics. In order to improve the rate of recycling in the future for so-called “material” resources, the law must study the properties of such waste plastics as a means of selecting the most suitable recycling methods. Furthermore, because waste plastics are being collected from faraway locations for “recycling,” the system is actually wasting energy which could be used for improving recycling techniques and systems. Firstly, this work reviews the characteristics of plastics and presents the current situation for each of the plastic recycling methods. There is a special focus on oil production. As a contribution to the ongoing brainstorming regarding the ideal recycling system of the future, we next go on to suggest a local-circulation version of the “Containers and Packaging Recycling Law.” The significance of this recommendation is discussed along with possibilities for its implementation.
It has been 14 years since the Law for the Promotion of Sorted Collection and Recycling of Containers and Packaging was put into effect in April 2000. From the point of view of promoting greater resource circulation, drastic revisions are required regarding the Law for Container and Packaging Recycling in an effort to create higher efficiency and further advancements in material recycling. In order to achieve greater efficiency and upgrading, this paper proposes that local governments should establish a single-collection system for plastic containers/packaging and product plastics and determines that specified corporations should be entrusted to operate their advanced sorting facilities with plastic resources being differentiated according to resins. When this passes authorization by the cabinet minister, it is proposed that local consortium systems can then only recycle container/packaging plastic through designated businesses that will bear the costs. The effective implementation of proposals for new material cycle systems is expected to not only develop appropriate use of valuable plastics being discarded from households but will also reduce the financial burden on local governments and promote higher efficiency in materials recycling.
Trends in the predicted amounts of packaging waste to be discharged are examined. The amount of household packaging waste was found to have recently been on the increase while the amount for plastic packaging waste had probably exceeded its expected amount in 2006. Two policies are discussed : 1) Goal setting and planning for packaging waste prevention in each business category and 2) Extension of responsibility among producers. In light of this discussion, I propose three things : expanded business categories for large-volume packaging users in a reporting system on packaging reduction ; the inclusion of voluntary plans by business associations to establish a basic policy for The Packaging Recycling Act and to set goals for prevention in each business category ; and Cost Reduction (Rationalization) Contribution that would be calculated along with costs of rational and efficient separate collection and sorting, instead of the difference between estimated recycling costs and actual recycling costs. As for the costs involved with separate collection and sorting, activities for promoting a municipal solid waste management accounting standard by MOE are also described here.