Case Report

Measures Taken by Fujisawa City towards the Creation of an Energy-Saving, Circulation-Based Society

Minoru Oshima
Manager, Environmental Policy Section, Environmental Department, Fujisawa City

My name is Minoru Oshima, Manager of the Environmental Policy Section, Environmental Department of Fujisawa City.

Fujisawa City is about 50 kilometers from Tokyo, located at the central and southern part of Kanagawa prefecture. Surrounded by six cities - Yokohama, Kamakura, Chigasaki, Yamato, Ayase and Ebina - and one town named Samukawacho, the city stretches roughly 12 kilometers from south to north, and 6.5 kilometers from east to west, and faces the Sagami Bay to the south. With an area of 69.49 square kilometers, Fujisawa City occupies 2.9% of the total land area of Kanagwa prefecture, which is 2,413 square kilometers.

Fujisawa City has a fairly flat land with the exception of the southeastern part of Fujisawa City and some hilly areas. It enjoys cool summers and warm winters.

The City of Fujisawa came into operation on October 1, 1940. It has a population of 362,571 with 134,427 households (as of April 1, 1994). Fujisawa is the fifth largest city in Kanagawa prefecture after Yokohama, Kawasaki, Sagamihara and Yokosuka.

History of Waste Management Operations

Garbage disposal operations in Fujisawa City dates back to 1945 when private companies used large carts and bicycle-drawn carts to collect garbage. In 1950, the City started collecting garbage for a fee around urban districts designated as the special cleaning district under the old Cleaning Act, using three-wheeled vehicles and bicycle-drawn carts.

In 1954, the City constructed in Ishinazaka a fixed-type incinerator that can handle 30 tons of garbage. The incineration of collected garbage helped improve public health and reduce the volume to be disposed in landfills.

After around 1955, the volume of garbage expanded rapidly in pace with growing population and improved standards of living. The content of garbage also underwent change. To deal with these changes, Fujisawa City introduced mechanical power from around 1961 to improve the garbage collection system. At the same time, the City stopped collecting garbage from each and individual house, and instead asked residents to put out their garbage in a bin on designated days. Also, garbage collection became free of charge for residents.

Transition to Modern Cleaning Operations

In December 1970, the Cleaning Law was revised into Waste Disposal Law which clearly identified the responsibilities of garbage collecting concerns. The City started collecting large-size waste separately from ordinary household refuse since it was getting difficult to incinerate all collected garbage. In the same year, the City built two continuous combustion incinerators of 150 ton capacity in the northern part of the city to cope with the increase in the volume of garbage and to dispose of garbage properly.

In 1971, the collection of garbage from housing complexes of Japan Housing Corporation Collection was commissioned to outside collectors. In 1972, collection of large-size refuse from all parts of the city was commissioned. In 1973, the City started collecting ordinary garbage twice a week for all parts of the city. In the same year, the "Ordinance on the Disposal of Wastes and Cleaning in Fujisawa City" was enacted. In 1977, the City established 'Headquarters for the Reduction of Garbage in Fujisawa City' to cope with the expanding volume of garbage. After numerous discussions on reducing garbage and recycling, a system of collecting recyclable garbage was launched jointly by the city, citizens and private companies. The items for collection included bottles, cans, metals, cloths and papers.

In 1984, the fixed incinerator at Ishinazaka was upgraded to three incinerators capable of handling 130 tons each, or a total of 390 tons. The City also built a heated swimming pool in Ishinazaka utilizing heat from the incinerator.

In 1991, the enactment of the Law for Utilization of Recyclable Resources and the drastic revision of the Waste Disposal Law clearly set out the aims of reducing wastes, promoting recycling and disposing of waste properly. These laws also provided a direction towards controlling, sorting and recycling wastes. As the increase in the volume of garbage became obvious in the latter half of the 1950’s, the City established in October 1990 the ‘Garbage Problems Council of Fujisawa City’, which comprises people from academics, citizens, private companies and administrative officials. The Council held discussions on the future direction of waste management and compiled a report titled ‘Towards Reducing Garbage in Fujisawa City - A Proposal’ in October 1990.

In February 1992, the Basic Plan on Waste Disposal in Fujisawa City was partially revised on the basis of the above report.

Against this background and based on Article 6 of the Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Law, Fujisawa City has mapped out the Basic Plan for the Disposal of General Wastes from a long-term and comprehensive perspective. The Basic Plan is designed to promote systematic disposal of wastes, identify a long-term vision on waste management in line with local conditions and comprehensively examine measures to realize these goals.

The Basic Plan provides the direction for the coming decade starting in FY1994 and ending in FY2003. I would like to outline the Basic Plan for the Disposal of General Wastes.

Measures to reduce and recycle wastes

The basic policy of Fujisawa City is to create a livable city where its economy and culture go hand in hand, and a city in harmony with natural environment based on a rational waste management, controlled output of wastes and promotion of recycling.

Duties of the administration include the following:

  1. Employ every measure to reduce, recycle and properly dispose of wastes.

  2. Lift the awareness of citizens and companies on the need to reduce, recycle and manage wastes by providing opportunities for environmental learning, and offering appropriate guidance to companies.

  3. Develop technology, gather information and conduct survey and research on the reduction, recycling and proper management of wastes.

Duties of the citizens include the following:

  1. Make every effort to reduce and sort garbage.

  2. Use recycled products and find a use for items that are destined to be thrown away.

  3. Cooperate with the City's measures on the reduction, recycling and proper management of wastes.

Duties of companies include the following:

  1. Avoid manufacturing or marketing products that are not easy to recycle.

  2. Secure a channel to collect used products, establish recycling technology and be responsible for disposing wastes that accompany business activities.

  3. Cooperate with the City's measures on the reduction, recycling and proper management of wastes.

In addition to identifying the duties of each party, emphasis has been placed on 'not producing wastes', 'not buying something that would be wasted', 'minimizing the amount of garbage' and 'opting for recycled and reused products'.

Basic Plan for Waste Disposal Fuijisawa City has launched measure to reduce and recycle 20% of the current volume of its wastes. The city aims to achieve this goal by an expansion of the short-term steps already in place and introduction of medium-term and national measures to be implemented in the future.

The first priority is to recycle and control the volume of wastes. Citizens, companies and government are called on to control the volume of wastes emitted at the source. Also, collection of recyclable matters (paper, cloth, metal, glass, etc.) from wastes helps promote efficient utilization of resources and prolong the life of final disposal sites.

Fuijisawa City promotes three types of measures to achieve its targets for waste reduction: short-term and medium-term measures that can be implemented by the city's own initiative; and national measures that require a national-level involvement or a transformation of the current socio-economic system. Short-term measures include:

• Promotion of the introduction of composing bins

Kitchen refuse occupies some 60% of flammable wastes in terms of weight. Households without a garden will find it difficult to introduce a composting bin, and the degree of use differs from individual to individual. For these reasons, the City hopes the composing bin will find its way into some 30% of the houses and that will ultimately reduce kitchen refuse by about 10%.

• Increase the frequency of collection of recyclable wastes (from once a month to twice a month)

A survey on garbage showed that large-size waste and nonflammable wastes contain some 40-50% of recyclable matters. With the increase in the frequency of recyclable waste collection, the City believes it can boost the proportion of recyclable matters among nonflammable waste to 30%.

• Call system for large-size waste

In 1992, the City started a system of collecting large-size waste upon request. This resulted in a 33% decrease in the volume of large-scale and nonflammable waste. Re-utilization of large-scale waste (by Recycling Center) is expected to further cut the volume of large-scale waste by 10%.

• Stop excessive packaging

Convenient packaging materials such as food trays and vinyl wraps have been used in huge volume, and are often found among both flammable and nonflammable wastes The City has launched a campaign to reduce the volume by encouraging shops to reduce their use.

• Bringing one's own shopping bag

Vinyl bags handed out to customers at supermarkets make up 1-2% of nonflammable wastes in terms of weight. As with food trays, they are not so significant in terms of weight, which means any reduction has to be substantial to make any difference. Vinyl bags among wastes must be reduced in conjunction with food trays. The target for reduction is to halve the volume of such items among nonflammable waste, or to 1%.

• Collection of items whose method of disposal has not been established

Items that are difficult to dispose properly or hazardous substances constitute several percentage of large-scale and nonflammable waste in terms of weight. As the method of disposing these items has not been established, they are believed to have been collected as large-scale or nonflammable waste. It is necessary to develop ways to collect fluorescent bulbs and batteries separately.

• Others

Introduction of a system to promote waste reduction, method of putting out waste from business establishments, reduction of large volume of wastes emitted by business establishments, guidance on recycling.

These are short-term measures for implementation.

The medium-term measures include the improvement of the Recycling Center, new cleaning plant and the new final disposal site, promotion of simplified packaging and establishment of collection systems.

The government's national measures include the promotion of the development of products that are easy to recycle and reuse, enhanced utilization of recycled resources, control of the use of one-way bottles and promotion of returnable bottles, system of surcharge on products, introduction of a deposit system and clarification of the responsibilities of business establishments on waste management.

I have briefly outlined the status and future policy of waste management in Fujisawa City.

Fujisawa/Saarbrücken/Bangkok/Gulu Municipalities/Luisville and Jefferson County/Ratnapura/Jerusalem/Portland/La Ceiba/Shenyang