Tokyo’s final waste disposal has decreased about 60% over the past 10 years thanks to efforts by citizens and businesses, etc., while TMG has aggressively implemented pioneering policies ahead of national initiatives to address the global environmental issues that are threatening our survival, to create a low-carbon urban city. However, the climate change crisis and resource constraints are posing great challenges on a global scale. The Panel discussed the desirable future direction of policies and measures pertaining to the sustainable use of resources from a global perspective, aiming to create a sustainable society.
What is it?
1. Principles of sustainable resource use and integrated strategy
We have no choice but to achieve the sustainable use of resources, based on the following principles:
- Renewable resources should be used to the maximum extent possible, and should be used within a level that allows for their renewal in the long term.
- If unavoidable, non-renewable resources may be used within a level, that allows them to be substituted by other materials or energy sources.
- Environmental impact from human activities should remain within the capacity of the environment to restore itself.
2. Tokyo’s responsibilities
- Tokyo is a high-consumption megacity and a hub of networks where people, goods, and information flow in from all over the world and its initiatives to promote the cyclical use of resources can and should play an important role.
- To fulfill this role effectively, it is important to assess the lifecycle-wide environmental impact associated with use of resources in Tokyo.
- For the basis of assessing the input of natural resources, GHG emissions, and final waste disposal, the final demand in Tokyo calculated from an analysis of an inter-industry analysis would be useful. These possible actions need to be studied further.
How does it work?
1. Approaches to both artery and vein processes
- While the term “reduction” is generally interpreted as a reduction in the generation of waste, it should rather be considered as minimization or optimization of the use of resources.
- It is important to promote the cyclical use of resources in line with the basic priorities in the order reuse, materials recycling, and thermal recycling.
- On the artery side, it is important to promote a shift in the choice of raw materials to the use of renewable resources, and to highly functional materials made from elements with less availability constraint.
2. Reducing the extraction of natural resources
—Promoting the cyclical use of metals and other natural resources—
- TMR and ecological footprints are important for metal resources and biomass resources, respectively.
- To ensure a consistent supply of metal resources and to reduce the environmental impact associated with resource extraction, we need to encourage the development of easy-to-separate-and-recycle product designs and develop a mechanism to collect discarded small electronic devices, etc.
- It is also important to promote the cyclical use of other beneficial elements, such as phosphorus, which is necessary for food production but which is supplied entirely by imports.
3. Reducing GHG emissions
—Visualizing avoided GHGs from the cyclical use of resources—
- To establish how recycled materials can bring reductions, it is important to consider introducing a mechanism to make reductions in GHG emissions from the cyclical use of resources in the vein processes visible.
- It is necessary to formulate common calculation rules for reductions in GHG emissions from the cyclical use of resources, and to facilitate appropriate evaluation for recycling vendors’ activities and more active implementation of recycling programs by Tokyo’s wards and municipalities.
4. Reducing final waste disposal
—Response to the declining demand for recycled materials with the maturation of cities—
As cities mature, improvement projects are likely to outnumber construction starts; and the production of waste concrete is likely to exceed the demand for recycling. To prevent this scenario, it is necessary to extend the useful life of buildings and structures as well as to expand recycling “from building construction to building construction
Based on this strategy, TMG starts to revise the Waste Management Plan.
Considering opinions from citizens, businesses and other departments, TMG implements efforts to create a low-carbon society and a society with a sound material cycle in an integrated manner.