In 2021, the recycling rate of plastic waste in Japan amounted to 87 percent. Figures indicated an upwards trend in recent years.
Waste management in Japan
In Japan, waste is usually sorted by citizens before it is collected. Plastic, paper, PET bottles, aluminum, and glass are collected separately to be recycled. The recycling rate of Japan's total waste has remained low at around 20 percent throughout the past decade. In contrast, the incineration rate of municipal waste amounted to around 75 percent. As it can easily reduce the volume of waste, incineration remained the most widely used waste treatment method in Japan.
The remaining waste is disposed of at landfills. Despite the decreasing amount of waste disposed at landfills, Japan is facing a shortage of landfill sites as the remaining capacity of landfill sites for final waste disposal is shrinking.
Plastic waste in Japan
Since plastic packaging is common in Japan, it was one of the leading countries to generate plastic waste. A large amount of plastic waste was exported. The remaining waste was mostly recycled, with thermal recycling being the main method to recycle plastic waste. With this method, the waste is incinerated to generate energy. Despite the filtering technologies, which avoid incineration plants releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases, the incineration process produces fumes that contribute to air pollution and climate change.
Recycling rate of plastic waste in Japan from 2012 to 2021
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PWTI. (July 12, 2023). Recycling rate of plastic waste in Japan from 2012 to 2021 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved December 11, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1169339/japan-rate-of-recycled-plastic-waste/
PWTI. "Recycling rate of plastic waste in Japan from 2012 to 2021." Chart. July 12, 2023. Statista. Accessed December 11, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1169339/japan-rate-of-recycled-plastic-waste/
PWTI. (2023). Recycling rate of plastic waste in Japan from 2012 to 2021. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: December 11, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1169339/japan-rate-of-recycled-plastic-waste/
PWTI. "Recycling Rate of Plastic Waste in Japan from 2012 to 2021." Statista, Statista Inc., 12 Jul 2023, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1169339/japan-rate-of-recycled-plastic-waste/
PWTI, Recycling rate of plastic waste in Japan from 2012 to 2021 Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1169339/japan-rate-of-recycled-plastic-waste/ (last visited December 11, 2023)
Recycling rate of plastic waste in Japan from 2012 to 2021 [Graph], PWTI, July 12, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1169339/japan-rate-of-recycled-plastic-waste/