Asia Politics & Legislation

Japan Government Promotes Bioplastics

The Japanese Government wants Japan to become a leader in bioplastics.

Japanese Ministry of Environment will include 5 billion yen (€ 39 Mln / $ 45Mln) in the 2019 budget for  the development of products made from biodegradable bioplastics and subsidise companies that produces paper alternatives to plastic.

The Japanese Ministry of Environment will try to influence demand for bioplastics products by asking companies and research institutions to develop daily-use products such as food containers.

The Japanese Government has identified the major obstacle for the breakthrough of bioplastics which is the price. Bioplastics are more expensive than fossil-based plastics. The Japanese Government also knows that by reducing the use of fossil-based plastics and increasing the use of bioplastics they will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions during the incineration of the plastics.

The Japanese Ministry of Environment plans to support corporate investments in equipments intended to boost production of plastic alternatives with subsidies covering  between 33% to 50% of the price of the equipment.

Plastic waste are pilling up in Japan since China stopped importing plastic waste and they don’t know what to do with it.

The action plan of the Japanese Ministry of Environment has the purpose to reduce marine plastic waste and consists of :

  • drawing up a strategy for the recycling of plastic waste by June next year and implementing the strategy;
  • a subsidy program for biodegradable bioplastics;
  • promoting plastic waste reduction.

CLOSING REMARKS

  • Japan might become the leader in bioplastics.
  • EU institutions started a legislative procedure to tackle plastic waste but didn’t include bioplastics in the proposal and are not as efficient as Japan in their legislative tempo. In addition, EU will face an existential crisis with Brexit soon.
  • US Government has other priorities for the moment and the most significant policies are produced at the level of the individual states.
  • French Government recently came up with their action plan regarding plastics, but weren’t as smart as the Japanese to include bioplastics in it.
  • Japan is one of the first countries to officially communicate that they have a problem with the pilling up of plastic waste that used to be exported to China. EU has the same problems but the industry is keeping it quiet until EU votes on the directive.

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