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Material cycles in Asia: especially the recycling loop between Japan and China

TitleMaterial cycles in Asia: especially the recycling loop between Japan and China
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsTerazono A, Yoshida A, Yang J, Moriguchi Y, Sakai S-ichi
Journal TitleJournal of Material Cycles & Waste Management
KeywordsHome appliances, Material cycles, Plastic, Secondary resources, shipment, Transboundary
AbstractIn this article, we clarify the current status ofJapanese exports and Chinese imports of secondaryresources. A total of around 10 million metric tons (t) ofsecondary resources are exported annually from Japan toChina, Hong Kong, and Korea. Hong Kong plays the role ofa transshipment point, especially regarding the trade inplastic waste, and China imports much from the USA andJapan, often through Hong Kong. The secondary resourcesexported from Japan include both byproducts from manufacturingprocesses and end-of-life products or materials.The great demand in China, and the difference in pricesbetween countries, drive this transboundary shipment,although Japan has enacted various recycling laws that wereimplicitly intended to promote domestic recycling. In China,the imported secondary resources are recycled, usually bymeans of primitive and low-cost hand labor. The greatestconcern is whether there are still improper (illegal orpolluting) recycling activities in China. International materialcycles should prevent environmental pollution andensure efficient resource utilization. To that end, the followingmeasures are needed: cooperative control of thetrade of secondary resources between countries, the alignmentof domestic laws with the regulations in other countriesbased on the actual trade activities, and the realizationof sound practices for global resources management.
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