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Nagoya appliance recycling drive reaps success

Chunichi Shimbun

The city of Nagoya started collecting small household appliances for recycling in February and announced April 11 that it had received more than 31,000 kg of machinery in just two months — five times more than anticipated.

The number for February alone was 15 times higher than what had been collected in a similar effort in Osaka, even though the types of appliances are mostly the same.

“This has been a success because we placed collection boxes in places that are easy to access, like the supermarket,” said an official from the resource promotion department of the Nagoya Municipal Government.

Rare and precious metals are extracted from used cellphones, digital cameras, game players and other appliances to be recycled.

Nagoya has placed yellow recycle boxes at 51 locations, including City Hall.

The city has specified 61 items that can be accepted, and all must be nor larger than 15 cm by 40 cm by 25 cm.

A review of the items received from Feb. 3 to Feb. 24 revealed that cellphones and personal handy phones were most common at 13 percent, followed by DVD players and other video-related devices at 11.4 percent.

The amount collected in Nagoya in February weighed in at about 15,000 kg, compared to around 1,000 kg in Osaka.

Nagoya was one of the first cities to promote recycling city-wide. It installed its first recycling box in 2009 at a supermarket in Chikusa Ward to experiment with the idea.

The city predicted the amount it would get in February based on the result of that trial. After the resource promotion department put up posters in subway stations to launch the campaign this year, however, the results far exceeded their expectations.

“Maybe it’s because people were rushing to replace old appliances before the consumption tax was raised in April,” the Nagoya official said.

The large difference between the Osaka and Nagoya campaigns can be attributed to the fact that Osaka did not place recycling boxes in supermarkets and appliances stores, while Nagoya actively sought the cooperation of private companies, the official said.

A law to promote the recycling of small electronic and home appliances took effect in April 2013.

Each municipality can choose when and what types of items to collect. The appliances collected are then sold to organizations specified by the government.

Nagoya expects to receive ¥7 million from selling the appliances and gadgets it collected in February.

This section, appearing Saturdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published April 12.