Unit-charging programs for municipal solid waste in Japan

Sakai, S; Ikematsu, T; Hirai, Y; Yoshida, H (2008) Waste Management, 28(12): 2815-2825

Unit-charging programs known as pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) for municipal solid waste in Japan were surveyed. The number of municipalities that have implemented PAYT for combustible waste totaled 954 (30%) in 2003. The introduction of PAYT programs peaked in the early 1970s and again in the 1990s. PAW has tended to be adopted by municipalities with small populations (less than 30,000). PAYT charging systems can be roughly divided into two groups: simple unit-pricing programs and two-tiered pricing programs. It is difficult to see the relationship between PAYT and waste reduction by simple inspection of the overall changes throughout Japan. Case studies of four municipalities showed that the implementation of PAYT programs reduced the amount of residual waste generated by 20% to 30%. In combination with other measures, especially the recycling of containers and packaging, PAYT programs can bring about a dramatic reduction in waste.