Japan Seeks To Recycle Disaster Rubble

June 29th, 2011

In the midst of dealing with the aftermath of the 2011 earthquakes and tsunamis, Japan faces the challenge of finding uses for the 25 million tons of rubble (equivalent to half the amount of household waste generated in Japan annually) created as a result of the disaster.

As reported in the New York Times, experts are saying that a large proportion of the debris materials – wood, steel, concrete and plastic – can be reused. Nonetheless, the recovering of these materials would be slow, as the priority is on other recovery efforts, such as the search for missing bodies within the rubble and helping victims resettle.

Some of the challenges Japan faces in recycling their rubble includes
(i) the lack of space for the storage of the debris,
(ii) the lack of manpower and resources to put the rubble through the recycling process (i.e. sorting, collection and processing), especially for the disaster devastated areas
(iii) the wood debris in the disaster areas are contaminated with salt water, and burning such wood debris (in disposal or as bio fuels) will release carcinogenic dioxins. As a result, these wood debris will need to be “desalinated”, such as through exposure to the elements like rain, prior to being burnt.

Nonetheless, Japan is not giving up. While the recycling targets across the country are low, the various parties are doing their best to help in the situation.

For example, the according to the New York Times, the Forestry Agency in Japan would be subsidizing 50% of the cost of crushing machines that will help turn the waste wood and lumber into chips that can be burnt as biomass fuel at biopower plants.

Read more about Japan’s amazing recycling system and culture.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 at 8:26 am and is filed under News, Recycling Resources. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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