TOKYO >> The Environment Ministry plans to double the amount of metal recycled from sites where electronic devices are discarded, known as urban mines, by fiscal 2030 as part of the country’s goal of decarbonizing Japan.
Highly sought rare metals, including lithium, nickel and cobalt, as well as copper and zinc, are mostly imported to Japan. But they are abundant in the electric circuit boards of mobile phones and personal computers. Therefore, the ministry seeks to secure and utilize these limited resources by recovering the metals from discarded circuit boards and other items.
Next fiscal year, the ministry will boost imports of discarded electronic devices from countries that lack recycling technology. In Asian countries undergoing rapid economic development, for instance, the rapid increase of discarded electronic devices is fast becoming a serious waste issue.
The ministry currently provides financial and other support to domestic recycling companies that are developing technology to recover the metals in discarded items or boost their processing capacity.
The ministry is formulating a “road map for a recycling- based economy” that aspires to create a society that reuses resources instead of discarding them.
In the road map, the ministry plans to set forth a target of processing 420,000 tons of circuit boards in fiscal 2030, compared with about 210,000 tons in fiscal 2020. It plans to earmark more than 1 billion yen ($7.57 million) for related expenses in this year’s fiscal budget.
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