Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

June 29, 2008


Japan's Environment Ministry Plans 20% Cut to Household Waste Nationwide by 2015

Keywords: Government Manufacturing industry NGO / Citizen Non-manufacturing industry Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

The Japanese Ministry of the Environment wants to reduce household waste nationwide by about 20 percent from fiscal 2000 levels by 2015. The target is included in the Second Basic Plan for Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society, which received Cabinet approval on March 25, 2008. The amount of waste produced daily per capita in fiscal 2000 was calculated at about 660 grams, after excluding business waste and the amount of recyclables collected by civic groups and municipalities (see note below).

The reduction target for business waste was set at about 20 percent from fiscal 2000 levels for the total amount of waste from all businesses, instead of waste generated by individual businesses. This is because their numbers can change drastically over time, and differences in size significantly affect the amount of waste generated. Business waste in fiscal 2000 was about 17.99 million tons.

In addition to encouraging other measures such as people bringing their own chopsticks and shopping bags when away from home, the basic plan includes the following major goals:
1. Establish a society based on "stocks" (rather than "flows") in which "goods" are accumulated over time (e.g., long-lasting, high-quality houses).
2. Build a sound-material cycle society that makes use of local characteristics.
3. Introduce a lifestyle rooted in the idea of "mottainai" (meaning "waste not, want not" in Japanese).
4. Spread the 3Rs concept (reduce, reuse, and recycle) in economic activities, including manufacturing.

The collection of recyclables is actively promoted in Japan by civic groups, including residents' associations, parent-teacher associations, children's associations, and other groups that collect materials such as newspapers, empty bottles and cans, and used clothes to sell to dealers. The profits they make are used to operate their groups and partly used to serve their communities. It is seen as an effective way to collect recyclables and, in most cases, is subsidized by local governments.

- Japan Ministry Announces Basic Plan for Sound Material-Cycle Society (Related JFS article)
- Waste Volume at Record Levels, But Recycling Improves (Related JFS article)

Posted: 2008/06/29 12:30:49 PM