As recently published in the online edition of the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
a study was conducted by Katsuyuki Nakano et al. at the Japan Environmental Management Association for Industry (JEMAI)
to evaluate the GHG emissions reductions from the 2001 appliance recycling law in Japan. The law applies to CRT (Cathode-Ray Tube)-based TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines. Under the law, the Consumer has the obligation to pay a part of the fees for recycling; the recycling fee for an air conditioner is ¥3,500 (approximately $30US). The Retailer has the obligation to collect anything sold in their store and take your old appliance when you buy a new one from them. They are then required to transfer the appliances for recycling. The Manufacturers and importers have an obligation to recycle, for example the standard for the recycling of an air conditioner is 60wt%. The system also lets consumers check to make sure their appliances are properly recycled.
This study was carried out on four home appliance products, and it was found that the Home Appliance Recycling Law has brought significant reductions in GHG emissions. There is also room to make GHG reductions through improving the processing methods further.
I suppose the results are what we all expected; the thing is it’s nice to have it on paper (or electronic format!) and with quantifiable results to help convince policy-makers that this stuff is important and effective. Way to go Japan. More info on the law here. Also check Japanese household recycling here