Consumer perspectives on household hazardous waste management in Japan

Asari, M.; Sakai, S. (2011) Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management, 13(1): 10-24

We give an overview of the management systems of household hazardous waste (HHW) in Japan and discuss the management systems and their risks. To get basic information, we conducted a survey of consumers to discover their behavior and awareness of HHW items throughout the entire life cycle, which is made up of the purchase, use, and disposal of a product. The results showed that many people hold end-of-life batteries, fluorescent lamps, empty spray cans, and others in their houses after use. Also, the results showed that a lot of such waste items were discarded in waste streams different from those stipulated by local governments. In particular, many people do not remove NiCd batteries inside products such as shavers or cordless phones before discarding. On the other hand, people's knowledge of and concern regarding the risks, collection, and recycling of HHW were high. When information about the risks was specifically presented in the questionnaire, people tended to show a more positive intention to participate in a collection and recycling system compared to those who were not presented with such information. Our studies on NiCd batteries and fluorescent lamps showed that it is important to collect and recycle HHW to control the domestic and international flows of cadmium and mercury.


Questionnaire; Fluorescent lamp; Battery; Mercury; Cadmium