Possibility of Introducing Recycling Certification in Developing Asia

Event: The 9th NIES Workshop on E-waste
Date: Jan. 31- Feb. 1, 2013

As resource demand grows in line with the rapid economic growth of developing countries in Asia in recent years, so too has the transboundary movement of recyclables in Asia. At the same time, Japanese government is trying to promote recycling and waste management business development in developing Asia. In response to the challenges faced by developing Asia, it is crucial to set up a mechanism to support environmentally-sound recycling businesses to make such policy efforts fruitful.
In October 2011, the requirements to allow the 1995 revision of the Basel Convention to come into force were clarified (includes contents which prohibit the export of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries, including for the purpose of recycling). Considering this background, international pressure will be intensified for the development of mechanisms to manage recyclables in environmentally and socially sound manner.
However, international policy discussions focusing on the Basel Convention tend to lean towards a regulatory and supervision of “illegal trade” but not giving incentives to best practices when dealing with the trade of waste and recyclables. On the other hand, when one looks at the reality of the expansion of the transboundary movement of recyclables driven by economic and market principles, such as economic growth and increased resource demand in developing countries in Asia (China, in particular), mechanisms to ensure proper trade in recyclables are crucial to promote sound recycling business. In this sense, considering the reality of international trade, certification schemes to identify good recyclers would be more effective measures in addition to regulatory measures. Thus, this paper summarizes the points for discussions for possible introduction of recycling certification for developing Asia ruled by informal recycling market.