Japan Society of Waste Management Experts reports that Chofu City, located in the western Tokyo Metropolitan Area – known as the Tama Area – is a municipality with a population of 213,000 and 104,000 households. In 2004, it reviewed the manner of separate collection of household waste and changed the collection method from station collection to door-to-door collection using plastic bags designated by the city.

It also introduced a charge for household waste collection service. As a result, Chofu is now achieving outstanding success in waste reduction and recycling in Japan. The change in waste collection policy goes back to 1992, when the Regional Waste Disposal Association in the Tama Area required its member municipalities (25 cities and one town) to strictly comply with a rule on disposal amount allocation.

At that time, Chofu found itself in a disgraceful situation since its waste reduction rate was often the worst among the members and demanded urgent and drastic policy reform. The city finally came to a decision to divert recyclables from waste in a more thorough manner. The waste for incineration, which was collected three times a week, contained 52-53% of paper and textile waste, which should have been recycled. Therefore, the frequency of waste collection for incineration was reduced to two times a week and weekly collection of paper and textile waste was started.

Further, the collection frequency of bottles and cans was increased from fortnightly to weekly, in addition to an increase in the number of recycle stations from about 1,500 to 3,500. In order to encourage waste reduction at home, subsidies for the purchase of compost units for kitchen waste and the lending of nets to prevent animal scavenging were introduced.

In addition, various measures to raise public awareness were taken such as recycling promotion campaigns in front of rail stations and distribution of waste collection calendars and leaflets explaining the proper method to put out separated wastes for pick-up.

The purpose of the introduction of door-to-door collection was to ensure proper waste separation by households. The city does not collect waste placed outside the front door if it is not properly separated, therefore enhancing citizens‘‘ consciousness of waste separation. It was expected that charging for waste collection along with free collection of separated recyclables would bring economic incentives to both reduce waste and promote recycling.

Through this approach, the city succeeded in reducing waste for incineration by 6,373 tons and waste not intended for incineration by 4,221 tons in the fiscal year 2004 compared to the previous year. The recycling rate, calculated as [(recyclables collected by the city + recyclables sold by community organizations + recyclables sorted from waste by the city) / total waste amount], increased from 36.8% to 42.8% (and 43.6% in 2005), which is the highest in the Tama Area and the second highest nationwide among cities with a population of 100,000 – 500,000.

From a financial viewpoint, expenditure increased by 467 million yen mainly due to the change in waste collection procedures, but charging for waste collection by selling the designated bags for collection increased revenues up to 830 million yen. By recognizing the maximum use of recyclable materials as a responsibility of humans living on this planet, Chofu City intends to continue contributions to global environmental conservation by working closely with people for waste reduction and recyclables separation.


Ano da Publicação:
WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #18-2007-May 04, 2007
Kit Strange/Warmer Bulletin
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