Recycling waste packages in Japan. Construction waste recovery - Mariusz Grabda

Mariusz Grabda is a member of the Program Committee of the Waste Management Conference Save the Planet, 28-30 March 2012,

Dr. Eng. Mariusz Grabda is an Assistant Professor at Institute of Environmental Engineering of Polish Academy of Sciences, and currently a post-doc fellow in the Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials of Tohoku University in Japan. His primary research concerned on utilization of geothermal heat and natural utilization of sewage sludge. In recent years, his research area is dedicated to solid waste management, especially a thermal recycling of waste plastics containing brominated flame retardants. Mariusz Grabda is a member of the Program Committee of the Waste Management Conference Save the Planet, 28-30 March 2012,


Which organizations that collect the waste packages have highest performance rate and which are the companies that buy such collected packages by different types - bottles, paper bags, etc. Which are the main enterprises that use the waste collected packages in their production activity?

General practice of recycling is conducted through consignment to a designated corporation (the Japan Container and Package Recycling Association). Designated corporation selects a recycling business entity among pre-registered recycling business entities by public bidding in each designated storage site in local municipalities by utilizing commission paid by specified business entities, i.e. manufactures of and business entities using containers and packages. Consigned recycling business entity transports the waste to recycling facilities from storage sites in local municipalities and delivers the recycled product for profit to the user after the process of recycling is finished. Payment by designated corporation to the recycling business entities is done after they check a receipt or a delivery report issued by the user of recycled products that the recycled waste was delivered to the user for sure. This system prevents waste being disposed of without being recycled. In 2010, there were 60 recyclers of glass bottles, 52 recyclers of PET bottles, 41 recyclers of paper and 74 recyclers of plastics in Japan. Each recycler processes materials received from contracting business entities.

What is the proportion of waste packages from the total raw materials used to manufacture glass, plastics, paper products in your country?

Recycled glass bottles are mostly used in production of new glass containers (99%). Recycled PET bottles serve manly in manufacturing of fibers in textile industry (52%), and plastic sheets (38%) (for example, for eggs covers). Some recycled paper is used as RDF (6%), but most (93%) returns for paper industry where for manufacturing of paperboards. Recycled plastics are used as row materials for chemical industry mainly.

What is the difference in the prices of glass / plastic / paper products, made entirely of waste and of these products produced from natural resources? What is the economic efficiency of recovery of packaging waste, taking into account the costs of collection systems?

For individual consumer, there is no difference in price of final products. Selective collection of containers and wrappings is, however, excluded from user-fee system. Thus, selectively disposed glasses, PET, steel cans and plastics are collected free of charge from consumers. This makes economic incentive for consumers to collect recyclabes selectively from another, non-recyclabe waste, while for collectors, it allows to decrease cost of selective collection of valuable materials.

Is it necessary to raise the state fees for usage of natural resources in order to promote the recovery and recycling of waste?

It depends on local situation, and local costs. Recycling costs might be higher at the initial stage of building a recycling-oriented society, system of selective collection of recyclabes and developing of the recycling industry. It may reveal decreasing costs along with the development of the system and adoption of new cost-effective recycling technologies.

In Japan, for example, recycling unit cost of PET, paper and plastics dropped significantly within last 10 years

The advantages and disadvantages of the deposit system for collecting waste packages and what can be expected from its implementation in Bulgaria for some types of packages - eg. plastic and glass bottles?

Deposit (pay-back) system for glass bottles is an economic incentive for consumers to separate them from another waste, and to bring them back to the collecting points. Such system works effectively in many countries. The system, must be well organized, and selective collection of recyclabes must be closely correlated with development of recycling industry for these materials. In many countries all shops selling bottled drinks are required to participate in the deposit system. Some small shops may have limited space to collect the recyclabes, so they must be serviced quite often not to be clogged, and to not refuse further collection of recyclabes. Existing recycling industry must have sufficient flow capacity to process and sell the expected amount of collected bottles. Circulation of recyclabes must be well designed from the moment of their collection until selling the final products to packaging industry. Some defects in the circulation of these materials may deteriorate all recycling efforts.

What is the progress of the construction waste recovery - give us an example for such processing facilities and can we produce building materials that could meet the quality standards?

Recovery of the construction waste in Japan in 2005 achieved of 91%, 98% and 99% for wood, concrete and asphalt waste, respectively. Cement industry plays major role in recycling.

Concrete The most usual way to recycle concrete rubble is categorized as:

a) Bound (natural aggregate replacement in new concrete )

It has been generally accepted that recycled aggregates either fine or coarse can be obtained by primary and secondary crushing and subsequent removal of impurities. The best particle distribution can be achieved by primary crushing and then secondary crushing, but a single crushing process is more effective from the economic point of view.

b) Unbound ( road base, trench etc )

Use of such aggregates as sub base in flexible pavements show promising results. These recycled aggregates have also been used in generating concrete that is further used in rigid pavements.

Bricks arising from demolition may be contaminated with more mortar, plaster and are often mixed with other materials such as timber and concrete. In recent years, bricks are commonly crushed to form filling materials.

Ferrous metals. It is by far the most profitable and recyclable material. Scrap steel is almost totally recycled and allowed repeated recycling.

Whole timber arising from construction and demolition works can be utilized easily and directly for reused in other construction projects after cleaning, denailing and sizing.

The plastic wastes are best possible for recycling if these materials are collected separately and cleaned. Recycling is difficult if plastic wastes are mixed with other plastics or contaminants. Plastic may be recycled and used in products specifically designed for the utilization of recycled plastic, such as street furniture, roof and floor, PVC window noise barrier, cable ducting, panel. Japan practices adopted burning of waste plastic at high temperature and turning them in to ultra fine particles, known as man made soil.

Masonry is normally crushed as recycled masonry aggregate. A special application of recycled masonry aggregate is to use it as thermal insulating concrete. Another potential application for recycled masonry aggregate is to use it as aggregate in traditional clay bricks.

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