Japan eyes reducing amount of plastic waste by as much as 25% by 2030
The government will set a target to cut disposable plastic waste by 25 percent by 2030 while boosting the use of environmentally friendly bioplastics made from plants, sources close to the matter said Saturday.
By setting the ambitious go al, Tokyo aims to display its commitment to tackling environmental issues ahead of the summit of the Group of 20 economies in Osaka next June.
Japan produces the largest amount of plastic waste per capita after the United States and has lagged behind other countries in curbing the use of plastics such as disposable containers and shopping bags.
The target will likely be added to a draft strategy on plastic waste reduction being prepared by the Environment Ministry. It will be submitted to a ministry panel on Friday and the strategy is expected to be compiled by the end of the year.
The use of bioplastic materials will be increased to around 2 million tons by 2030 from 70,000 tons in fiscal 2013, according to the sources.
The draft did not specify the base year for the target.
Plastic bottles and packaging, which make up a large portion of plastic waste, totaled 4.07 million tons in 2016, according to the ministry. Overall plastic waste data including f or straws and stirrers were not available.
Businesses voiced concerns about negative economic repercussions and the feasibility of the target.
It costs less than Â¥1 to produce a plastic straw but around Â¥13 for a paper straw, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Bioplastics are also more expensive than conventional plastics.
On the goal of boosting bioplastics by nearly 30 times by fiscal 2030, a government official said, âIt is very ambitious and would be really tough to achieve.â
Among other goals, Japan aims to raise the proportion of recycled and reused plastic waste to 60 percent of all household and industrial waste. In fiscal 2016, the figure stood at 53 percent for household waste.
The Environment Ministry also plans to set targets for the reuse of all plastics including electronic appliances and automobile parts.
To achieve the goals, the government will make it mandatory for retail shops to charge for shopping bags and s lash the use of microplastics in facial scrubs and toothpaste.
By stepping up monitoring of illegal dumping and encouraging investment in businesses taking environmentally friendly steps, the government eventually aims to completely halt the dumping of plastic items in the ocean.
The draft reflected numerical targets in the Ocean Plastic Charter that Japan and the United States refused to sign at the Group of Seven summit in June. The Japanese government draft set even more ambitious target years for recycling and other measures compared with the charter.
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