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Econometric analysis of the performance of recycling projects in Japanese Eco-Towns

Ohnishi, Satoshi, Fujita, Tsuyoshi, Chen, Xudong, Fujii, Minoru
Journal of cleaner production 2012 v.33 pp. 217-225
econometrics, industrial symbiosis, industry, issues and policy, models, questionnaires, recycling, regression analysis, subsidies, surveys, wastes
Although, in the theory of industrial ecology, a recycling industry is essential in order to establish a closed loop material system, in practice, the contribution of that industry is still limited, and more studies are needed to enlarge its role. The objective of this paper is to quantitatively analyze factors that influence the performance of recycling projects in Japanese Eco-Towns. We develop two multi-regression models using questionnaire survey data from recycling facilities and cross-sectional data from 23 Eco-Towns to analyze the amount of waste treated by and the operating rate of recycling facilities. Dependent variables are introduced through a review of the literature on industrial symbiosis and the situation of Japanese Eco-Towns, focusing on three necessary features: recycling boundaries, government policy intervention, and local collaboration and partnership. The results of two simple regression models of recycling facilities in Eco-Towns offer several fruitful insights that aid in understanding the performance of recycling projects. First, recycling facilities’ geographical proximity to users of recycled products can contribute to high operating rates. Second, subsidies for constructing facilities do not improve recycling projects’ operating rates. Third, collaboration, rather than competition, among recycling facilities can improve their operating rates.