Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

February 19, 2005


Ongoing Efforts in Japan Target Household Food Waste

Keywords: Eco-business / Social Venture Government NGO / Citizen Policy / Systems Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

Japan faces an acute shortage of landfill sites. The Ministry of the Environment estimated at the end of fiscal 2001 that all of the nation's final disposal sites for non-industrial waste would be completely filled in 12.5 years. Encouraged partly by the enactment of the Food Recycling Law in 2001, various efforts have been made in Japanese households to reduce food waste, which accounts for 30 to 40 percent of non-industrial waste.

The most popular way of reducing food waste at home is by recycling it as compost. As many people live in apartments or houses with no backyards, indoor compost is in great demand. Two types of composters are popular: dry processing and bio-processing composters.

The dry type uses electricity to dehydrate the garbage into small flakes so that it can be disposed as "combustible garbage." The bio type utilizes microorganisms to convert the garbage into compost. Some processors create an environment favorable to microorganisms that then reduce the volume of the garbage, while creating virtually no odor.

Despite high interest in composters, annual shipments of indoor composters dropped to 76,000 units in 2003 from 191,000 in 2000. Manufacturers are in fierce competition to create better products that make less noise and odor, as well as lower prices and better ways to treat the residues.

Apartment and condominium complexes sometimes have their own food waste disposal systems. They use built-in disposers under kitchen sinks that shred the waste and release it to the sewerage system after decomposition in special wastewater treatment equipment.

Posted: 2005/02/19 03:17:08 PM
Japanese version