Refuse Disposal

Refuse disposal technology continually evolving

TOKYO (Kyodo via COMTEX) — Amid mounting refuse disposal problems nationwide, Japan’s steel, chemical and other materials-producing industries are devising increasingly innovative new technologies to cope with
the problem, providing a glimmer of hope for a long-term solution.

Tatsuno in the western Japan prefecture of Hyogo, a landlocked city long plagued by a shortage of dump yards, has recently adopted a gasification melting system developed by Nippon Steel Corp. to burn its refuse.

The system, called the next-generation incinerator, separates bottles and cans, which can be recycled, from other kinds of refuse that was formerly sent to landfills, and then burns the trash at a temperature of more than 1,700 C, curbing dioxin emissions.

Tatsuno no longer has refuse to send to dump yards, and the amount of incinerated ashes is one-fifth the amount produced by a conventional incinerator, city officials said.

With more than 20 manufacturers vying to win orders for new incinerators prior to the enforcement of strengthened dioxin regulations in December 2002, local governments placed about 60 such orders in fiscal 2000, twice as many as in fiscal 1999. Half the orders were for incinerators employing the gasification
melting system.

Kawaguchi in Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo, which has no city dump, hopes to reduce its refuse disposal expenses with the introduction of the system.

“It costs about 25,000 yen to transport one ton of refuse to a dump yard outside of the prefecture,” said an official at the environment planning section of the municipal government. The cost of the incinerator would be offset by savings in garbage disposal.

Of the 450 million tons of refuse produced annually in the nation, some 80 million tons are sent to final dumping places. The gasification melting system will mean such dumps are filled up much less rapidly while prolonging the usefulness of so-called “garbage” items.

“Technologies have been devised. The task now is to get results,” says Tokio Konishi, chief researcher at the Mitsubishi Research Institute.

“Using technologies we have cultivated over 30 years, we have broken the barrier at one stroke,” says Nobuya Okumura, executive director of Teijin Ltd. Referring to a new facility at its Tokuyama Works in Tokuyama, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The facility, which will begin operation next April, will turn collected PET bottles to high-purity polyester materials as well as new bottles, using state-of-the-art technology to realize complete recycling of products and materials.

Compared with the conventional method of producing PET bottles from petroleum naphtha, the new technology requires only 70% of the energy and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 20%.

Teijin plans to recycle 30,000 tons of PET bottles annually from the next fiscal year, equivalent to about 10% of such bottles manufactured annually in the country, or about 1 billion 500-milliliter bottles. According to the Council for PET Bottle Recycling, annual production is expected to reach 520,000 tons in 2005, 1.3 times as many as at present.

Meanwhile, Kao Corp. has taken a different approach and developed a technology to produce “paper bottles” from used paper products, which have almost the same strength as plastic bottles.

“We have made the first step toward the realization of a recycle-type society,” said a company official.

Since the new technology was unveiled last October, the company has received more than 100 inquiries from food, drink and container manufacturers.

Both Teijin and Kao will issue technology licenses, but its popularization is “difficult for only one company,” says the Kao official, citing the need for expanded infrastructure, including the collection of used products.

In Kosaka, northeastern Akita Prefecture, there is a notorious “refuse mine” located in a 3,000-hectare tract of land owned by Dowa Mining Co.

Using refi

Ano da Publicação: 2001
Autor: J. H. Penido
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