Japan Japan cabinet approves Bill for plastic resource management

The Cabinet of Japan approved the Bill for the Act on Promotion of Resource Circulation for Plastics on March 9, 2021. The bill was submitted to the 204th ordinary Diet session and passed by the House of Representatives on May 21, 2021. The ordinary Diet session will end on June 16, unless extended, and the House of Councilors is scheduled to discuss the bill.
It was also passed by the House of Councilors on June, 3. The Act shall come into effect on the date specified by a Cabinet Order within a period not exceeding one year from the date of promulgation. As of June 8, 2021, the law has not yet been promulgated, so the exact date of enforcement cannot be determined, but it is expected to take effect by June or July 2022 at the latest. (Postscipted the highlighted red on June, 8.)

 

Purpose

The importance of further promoting the recycling of plastic resources in Japan is increasing as a result of the marine plastic waste problem, climate change issues, and the tightening of waste import regulations in other countries. In light of this, this bill aims to take measures to promote the recycling of plastic resources by all entities throughout the life cycle of plastic products, from their design to waste disposal.

 

Outline

  1. Formulation of basic policies
    In order to promote plastic recycling in a comprehensive and systematic manner, the following items shall be formulated as the basic policy:

    • Environment-friendly design that contributes to the reduction of plastic waste and its recycling
    • Rational use of single-use plastics
    • Sorted collection, voluntary collection, and recycling of plastic waste, etc.
  2. Individual measures
    1. Guidelines for the design for the environment
      Establish guidelines for environment-friendly design that manufacturers should strive for and set up a system to certify that the design complies with the guidelines.
    2. Rational use of single-use plastics
      Formulate decision criteria that providers of single-use plastics (e.g., retailers and service providers) should work on.
    3. Promotion of sorted collection and recycling by municipalities
      Enabling recycling, utilizing the route of the Act on the Promotion of Sorted Collection and Recycling of Containers and Packaging, in order to promote the separate collection of plastic resources.
    4. Promotion of voluntary collection by manufacturers and sellers
      If a manufacturer/seller prepares a plan for voluntary collection and recycling of plastic products, etc., and the competent minister certifies it, the certified business operator will not be required to obtain a business license under the Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act.
    5. Promotion of Discharge Control and Recycling of Plastic Waste by Business Operators
      Decision criteria will be established for business operators to work on discharge control and recycling of plastic waste.