Tokyo's Way of Recycling its Waste

In Tokyo, the Minato Incineration Plant house a state-of-the-art recycling plant, playing a key role in efforts to promote sustainable living in the capital of Japan. Every week, thousands of plastic crates are placed along the streets of Tokyo to collect recyclable materials. These crates are organized and meticulously separated based on the appropriate receptacles.
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When crates full of glass containers enter the facility, they undergo a process where containers are sorted and organized until they are smashed into shards. The shards are collected by recycling companies and made into road paving material or bottles once again.
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Aside from glass smashing, the plant's activities are mainly focused on compacting, crushing and washing. Cans and tins make their way through magnetized sorting to separate steel and aluminum and then compression. The metals are remade into cans, auto parts or construction materials.

Plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), are compacted into 17-kilogram bales holding the equivalent of 200 1.5 liter bottles. After processing, the PET can be used to make new bottles, fabrics and stationary goods.

The heaviest of the bales made at the Minato plant are fashioned from recyclable plastics such as food packaging, bento trays, shampoo bottles and cup noodle containers. After the items are sorted, they are put through a giant compacting machine and bundled into 280-kilogram bales wrapped in white vinyl. The bales are then shipped to companies that turn them into new plastic products or chemical resources.

Minato Ward currently recycles about 29.8% of its recyclable materials and the current goal is 42% by 2021. Some 26% of burnable garbage and 12% of nonburnable garbage can be recycled. Recycling is a massive industry in Tokyo. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says it is promoting the '3R' strategy of reducing, reusing and recycling resources to continue to work with citizens and businesses to bring awareness.
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