Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

April 15, 2014


Tokyo's Adachi Ward to Recycle Bulky Wood Waste, First in Japan

Keywords: Local government Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

Photo: Particle board
Image by Kirsten Pauli Some Rights Reserved.

Adachi Ward in Tokyo announced on January 30, 2014, that it will begin recycling bulky wood waste, a first for a Japanese municipality. Aiming at recycling 40 percent of bulky, oversized waste from households, the ward plans to recover 400 tons of valuable wood resources per year from discarded waste.

Bulky wood waste from households is roughly sorted by material type at a relay station, and then sent to an intermediate processing facility where the waste is dismantled and unwanted materials such as glass and plastics are removed. A chip manufacturer then breaks the remaining wood waste into chips.

Wood chips are recycled by a board manufacturer into particle board, which can be used as a building material for the floors and walls of houses, and as material at construction sites and factories. Used particle board that might become construction waste can be recycled again and again through crushing and chip production.

Comparing particle board use to total wood consumption including that of newly harvested wood and other recycled wood reveals that particle board use constitutes 40-70 percent of total wood use in major industrialized nations, where use of particle board is widespread, while particle board use represents less than 20 percent in Japan. This means that Japan often uses newly harvested wood where recycled wood could be used, suggesting a large potential demand for recycled wood in Japan.