More local governments to expand plastic waste collection

More local governments are gearing up to start collecting a wider range of discarded plastic items from households, following the implementation of the Plastic Resources Recycling Promotion Act on April 1. .

They will start collecting for recycling other discarded plastics such as buckets and hangers in addition to plastic containers that local governments are already collecting, including food trays.

The expansion is expected to help reduce plastic waste and carbon dioxide emissions from incineration at a time when marine plastic litter and global warming are becoming serious issues.

By law, municipalities must strive to collect and recycle a wide range of discarded plastic products separately from other waste.

Some local authorities have already expanded the range of collection and recycling of plastic waste. The number of such entities is expected to increase.

Tokyo’s Kita district, which treated discarded plastics as incinerable waste, began collecting a wider range of discarded plastics in certain areas in October last year. The measure will be generalized throughout the district from April 2023.

According to the neighborhood office, many residents reacted positively to the change.

“After the nationwide introduction of fees for disposable plastic shopping bags, interest in the issue of plastic waste appears to have increased,” an official said.

In the Kita district, approximately 3,500 tons of discarded plastic should be collected each year. The district government plans to spend 620 million yen a year on collection and transportation, intermediate processing and outsourcing to recycling companies.

Tokyo’s Shibuya district also plans to start collecting a wider range of discarded plastics in July this year.

In Miyagi Prefecture, the Sendai city government plans to switch to a similar collection method in April 2023.

Miyagi Capital, which has long collected plastic containers separately, decided to move following a demonstration project to collect plastic containers along with other discarded plastics between fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

In the western city of Okayama, the government aims to start collecting a wider range of discarded plastics in March 2024.

The city projects that if 8,000 tons of plastics are recycled each year instead of being incinerated, carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by approximately 17,500 tons, equivalent to the annual emissions of 6,000 homes.

The cities of Kawasaki, Fukuoka, and Kitakyushu will conduct demonstration projects in fiscal 2022 to see if they should adopt such plastic collection methods.

The central government will provide special grants to help local governments cover the costs associated with the collection and recycling of plastics.

“We hope that (local governments) will use state financial support” to promote the recycling of plastic items, an environment ministry official said.

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Bryce K. Locke