The potential of biofuel production from urban wastes to contribute to a sound material-cycle society in Japan -Case studies on construction and food waste-

Event: Annual Conference of the Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies

The aim of this paper is to analyse the potential contributions of bioethanol production from urban wastes to a sound material-cycle society in Japan. For this purpose, case studies are conducted on two projects of ethanol production from urban wastes: construction waste timber in Osaka Prefecture and food waste in Kitakyushu City. Based on estimates of production potential of ethanol and the relatively low recycling rates of those feedstocks, it was concluded that ethanol production seems to be a reasonable option towards a sound material-cycle society. The common facilitating factors of the projects, both recognised as the first projects in the world to utilise those wastes for bioethanol production, were found to be related to be the facts that those projects were launched in the Eco Towns and the feedstocks were specifically regulated by the recycling related laws. Identified challenges include fluctuating supply of construction waste timber and difficulties in establishing and efficient collection system from small scale waste generators. Based on the above analysis, some policy implications were drawn.