Japan Expects Package Recycling to Edge Higher

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TOKYO--Japan's recycling rate for PET bottles and other packaging materials is expected to rise marginally in the five-year period starting April 1, an official of the Ministry of the Environment's Waste and Recycling Policy and Planning Division said Jan. 28. Under Japan's Packaging and Wrapping Material Recycling Law, the ministry is required every three years to project recycling rates for the next five fiscal years for various materials--including PET bottles, aluminum and steel cans, corrugated cardboard, and glass containers--based on data collected from municipalities. The PET bottle recycling rate, which was 98.2 percent in 2010, is projected to rise to 98.9 percent by the end of the five-year period; recycling of plastic packaging materials is expected to rise from 78.8 percent to 80.6 percent; and recycling of paper materials from 50.2 percent to 52.6 percent, the official said. The official said the PET bottle recycling rate is higher than the others because its recycling started in 1997, while other recycling began more recently. Also, PET fetches much higher prices from recycling operators than the other substances, the ministry official said.