Kawasaki is one of the largest cities in Japan, situated between Tokyo and Yokoama. It has always been one of the most productive industrial areas of the Country, hosting 74 industrial facilities. Companies in the area are mainly from the iron and steel industry, cement industry, chemical and pulp and paper sectors. Industrial Symbiosis implementation in the area has been mainly led by the municipality, supported by the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The challenge that led to the implementation of Industrial Symbiosis in Kawasaki was the need of the municipality to find a solution to dispose of municipal solid waste in a sustainable way while also enhancing local economy. Thus, Industrial Symbiosis was seen as a suitable solution to such double issue.
The main barrier identified during Industrial Symbiosis implementation in this case was the availability of suitable technologies and facilities for waste treatment.
The approach used by the Japanese government in order to overcome such barrier was to set an intense investment programme in research and development activities for these technologies.
The discovery process started in 1997, when Kawasaki was approved as one of the first Japanese eco-town projects. The national government funded the creation of several waste recycling facilities in the region, in order to enable the reuse of municipal and industrial waste in the area. After that, the municipality started a series of conversations with local companies in order to identify and implement potential waste exchanges.
The main precondition that allowed Industrial Symbiosis implementation in Kawasaki was the presence of relatively big iron and steel and cement industries. In fact, these industries proved to be suitable consumers for a wide range of different waste streams. In addition, some of the exchanges involving iron and steel and cement production plants were at that time already well known and widely applied (such as the use of blast furnace slag for cement production). The local and national governments were also very supportive during the project, providing funds and enacting compelling recycling laws for different types of waste.
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