Japan started the promotion and development of eco-towns in 1997, with the aim of reducing the environmental pressure through a symbiosis of industries and cities. Hyogo prefecture (located in the west of Japan) has been promoting a recycling-oriented society with the cooperation of industries, citizens and businesses.
This study analysed the possibilities of implementing a reverse logistics network for plastics recovery and its coupling with existing industries and technologies. Since many industries are operating in Hyogo, the use of their facilities and/or equipment for plastics recovery has been proposed, specially the steel and chemical industries. Reverse logistics was used to analyse the supply of input plastics in terms of quantity and quality. This means clustering small neighbouring cities for synchronised sorted collection (there is a difference between small cities, which already use sorted collection, and big cities, where no sorted collection for plastics exists), and coordinating activities between larger cities.
This study was part of a research project aimed at closing the loop in the Japanese plastics industry by introducing an integral approach with improvements to the upstream and downstream sides of the plastic supply chain life cycle.
This paper presents the results of the first part of the study, which included the use of domestic plastic packaging as plastic sources and material, feedstock and energy recovery as recovery technologies. The results of this study indicate that the application of reverse logistics, combined with the appropriate recovery technologies in Hyogo eco-town, is both environmentally and economically beneficial. However, it requires close collaboration between local governments and the industrial sector.