April 21, 2004
The Law for the Recycling of Specified Kinds of Home Appliances (often referred to as the "Home Appliance Recycling Law") came into effect in April 2001. In the three years since that time, with regard to the designated four specified post-consumer use home appliances, namely air conditioners, television sets, refrigerators and washing machines, progress has been made with regard to proper disposal by consumers, collection from consumers by retail shops, collection by manufacturers at designated collection sites and recycling at recycling facilities.
While domestic shipment figures for the four designated kinds of home appliances decreased by 8% of the figure for FY2002, the number of units of the designated four specified kinds of home appliances recovered at designated collection sites increased by 3%. Insofar as one would expect that consumers typically discard old appliances when they buy new or improved appliances, an increase in the number of collected post-consumer use home appliances despite a decrease in shipments of new products suggests that the Home Appliance Recycling Law is in fact taking root through the understanding and support of consumers.
Current Situation of Appliance Recovery
The number of the designated four specified post-consumer use home appliances recovered at designated collection sites nationwide totaled approximately 810 thousand units in March 2004, reflecting an increase of 10% compared with FY2002 (Fig. 1-1). The number of post-consumer use home appliances recovered in Japan during FY2003 totaled 10.46 million units, reflecting an increase of 3% compared with FY2002 (Fig. 1-2).
Breakdown of the number of units of the four specified post-consumer use home appliances recovered at designated collection sites in FY2003 includes 3.55 million units of television sets (composition ratio of 35%), 2.67 million units of refrigerators (composition ratio of 25%), 2.66 million units of washing machines (composition ratio of 25%) and 1.59 million units of air conditioners (composition ratio of 15%) (Fig. 2), reflecting 1% increase of television sets, 4% increase of refrigerators, 10% increase of washing machines and 3% decrease of air conditioners.
Current Situation of Home Electric Appliance Recycling Plants
Forty-one home electric appliance recycling plants are in operation nationwide, and approximately 2,200 people are employed there as of the end of March 2004.
Approximately 10.51 million units of the four specified post-consumer use electric appliances were brought into home appliance recycling plants from designated collection sites nationwide, reflecting an increase of 3% compared with FY2002. Of this number, approximately 820 thousand units were collected in March, reflecting an increase of 17% compared with FY2002. (Fig. 1-3)
Breakdown of the four specified post-consumer use electric appliances brought into home appliance recycling plants from designated collection sites nationwide includes 3.57 million units of television sets, 2.68 million units of refrigerators and washing machines respectively and 1.59 million units of air conditioners, with composition ratio of 35%, 25%, 25% and 15%, respectively. (Fig. 3)
Home Appliance Voucher System
Consumers are able to know the status of the electric appliance which they took in for collection by accessing the web page of the Association for Electric Home Appliances (AEHA) (http://www.rkc.aeha.or.jp, available in Japanese only), utilizing a checking system which tracks the status of collected electric appliances.