Japan′s waste disposal and recycling policy has been successful so far ; while recycling has progressed rapidly the amount of landfilled waste has drastically decreased. Compared to recycling, however, the concepts of reduce and reuse have not been so quick to take root and flourish. This is perhaps because there are other problems involved, such as the difficulty of embracing the end-of-product attitude and the handling of parts and materials that are potentially polluting as these are being exported along an invisible flow. In order to develop a circular economy, these problems must be solved through the introduction of new policies with the aim of advancing the circular economy concept. To this regard, the EU has proposed new policy concepts such as “resource efficiency” and “end-of-waste”, which aim to enhance the quality of the existing circular economy. Studying these policy concepts and applying them in Japan could possibly help Japan to develop its own advanced circular economy. For this purpose, Japan will need to stipulate its policy concepts for a circular economy and analyze their function. Based on these, it is also recommended that an institutional infrastructure for constructing a circular economy must be developed.
This paper first presents a summary of interviews with people working in the European manufacturing and waste industries and then gives a review by the author regarding the benefits and risks of different business policies. The author indicates that the RE policy would offer benefits not only to the waste industry but also to the manufacturing industry. At the moment, there have only been a few significant legislative measures undertaken by the European Government, however, companies in Europe have already initiated a range of proactive schemes to respond to RE policy for the future. This shows there is good potential for the RE policy in the EU.
This paper compares the WEEE recycling policies of Japan and the EU. The EU allows multiple PROs in WEEE recycling in order to make the waste and recycling market more efficient. Policies of WEEE recycling in Japan focus on the promotion of DfE at the individual firm level. We can expect lower recycling costs by introduction of competition ; however, this also impedes disclosure of cost information, making flow monitoring more difficult. In addition, it limits the promotion of EPR because the information exchange between producer and recycler is more difficult in a short-term contract.
In light of the EU′s aim of political integration, it sets high targets, framework policies and deadlines for all member states. This approach helps the EU to coordinate recycling policies with resource policies.
In Japan, on the other hand, recycling policies are carefully designed to promote DfE and policy makers pay much attention to discharger responsibility. While DfE has been promoted, the coordination of recycling policies to resource policies has become difficult. It is therefore crucial in Japan to review WEEE recycling policies regarding how DfE can be coordinated with resource policies and other recycling policies.
The first recycling law, which brought the EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) concept to Japan, is known as the Containers and Packaging Recycling Law (legislated in 1995). Under this law, the recycling of plastic containers and packaging waste was launched from 1999. Over the past 15 years, a total of approximately 7960000 tons of plastics have been recycled (as were approximately 2630000 tons of PET bottles, individually). This recycling scheme has resulted in strongly contributing to the main objectives of the original legislation, which aimed to reduce overall waste and extend the life of the country′s landfill sites. The development of this law seems to have referenced the existing laws enforced in Germany and France. This paper mainly investigates the situation in Germany, outlining the progress that has taken place and illustrating the present conditions surrounding recycling of plastic container packing in the EU. It then compares the findings with the situation in Japan as a means of discerning what could be the future direction for managing the recycling of plastic container wastes.
Both the European and Japanese ELV recycling systems incorporate the policy of sharing roles and responsibilities for the recycling of ELVs among the four types of stakeholders, i.e. vehicle users, recycling operators, the government and automakers. While Europe and Japan originally confronted similar public issues regarding ELV disposal, the two regions selected somewhat different approaches. Japan made dealing with ASR, the most costly and technically difficult step in the entire ELV recycling process, the responsibility of automakers while Europe made it the responsibility of automakers to deal with every aspect of ELVs, inclusive of ASR. In both regions, the users are asked to pay for the recycling costs either directly or indirectly, and the automakers then hire their contractors to do the actual work of dismantling, recycling and disposal.
The different approaches taken by Europe and Japan stem from careful deliberations over the design and development of a practical system that can be operated and publicly accepted over a long period of time in each social setup, having its own unique industry distribution and market makeup. In both Europe and Japan, the stakeholders have performed their roles in an effort to address the specific public issues existing in each region. For the sustained operation of the ELV recycling system additional efforts will need to be made, especially in improving the relevant laws and regulations to better match the conditions existing in Europe and Japan.
This paper reviews and discusses the current situation with regard to 2R (Reduce, referring also to waste prevention, and Reuse). It provides definitions and indicators, introduces background on policy and behavior, and presents prevention effects from the life cycle perspective. It notes that the definition of waste prevention in the EU includes not only the reduction of waste quantities but also toxic substances in materials and products. Findings reveal that although various waste prevention indicators have been proposed in the EU and Japan, the indicators actually adopted in policies are limited by certain issues, i.e. lack of data availability. Some current challenges for the promotion of waste prevention include 1) making the definition of waste types clearer ; 2) developing a standardized, consistent monitoring method ; 3) clarifying the causal linkage between prevention effects and the behavior of stakeholders ; and 4) quantifying the environmental effects of waste prevention. Alongside challenges such as these, waste prevention policies have gradually been developing in the EU and Japan. A proposed method using life cycle assessment for quantifying prevention effects is also reviewed. It will be important to promote waste prevention policies while also taking into consideration what waste types, related sectors, and behaviors should be prioritized with quantitative evidence.