Policy for Fostering "Sound" Recycling Industries

Policy Report

In developing Asian countries, recycling is carried out under market mechanisms. Recyclable
waste is not only collected in the region, but also imported from other regions, such as Europe and North America. Concerns have been raised about issues such as occupational health and pollution associated with recycling. In particular, the safety and health of waste pickers collecting valuable materials from landfills, the air and water pollution from the recycling of e-waste and used lead acid battery, the water pollution from paper mills using waste paper, and the improper dumping of waste by recycling companies are all problems that have been reported. Further, recycled products sometimes do not meet product and safety standards, which could cause accidents or health problems. As income increases from economic growth, the demand for low-quality products made from recyclable wastes decreases. Improving the quality of recycled products to meet market preferences is therefore important for the recycling sector’s economic sustainability.
Many Asian countries have some policies to tackle such problems. But such efforts are fragmented and not well coordinated. The objectives of this report is to review current problems and best practices in the region, and to extract some lessons for policy makers considering policy for preventing these problems in recycling supply chain and fostering sound recycling industries, which invest in occupation health and safety, environmentally sound management, and quality control of recycled products.

This report is made under a research project of the Asia Resource Circulation Policy Research Group, coordinated by Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and funded by the FY 2013 Asia Resource Circulation Research Project commissioned by Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ).