- On 2023/9/26
Circular Yokohama welcomed the “UNDP PHILIPPINES – JAPAN LEARNING EXCHANGE ON CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS.” We hosted 14 delegates and 2 UNDP members from the Philippines between June 25 and 30, 2023.
This article reports on the latter half of the five-day journey in Tokyo.
The tour was co-hosted by Circular Yokohama and Zenbird.
About “UNDP PHILIPPINES – JAPAN LEARNING EXCHANGE ON CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS”
This tour is one of the programs of the ACE Project organized by UNDP Philippines. ACE project aims to support the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of the Philippines through enabling and accelerating the country’s transition to the circular economy for two years, from 2022 to 2024.
Ace project is part of the UNDP Global Project “Climate
Promise,” where the Philippines is among the participating countries.
The Japan learning exchange included 14 delegates from the local governments, five key cities, Manila, Quezon, Caloocan, and Pasig, and one private company, as well as two members of the UNDP Philippines team. Each of them is in charge of promoting sustainability and circular economy in their positions. This tour took them to the immersive experience of learning resource recycling and waste in Tokyo and Yokohama, the essential areas of Japan’s circular economy.
- Day 3: Activities and immersion for circular practice
- Day 4: Unraveling the Current State of the Circular Economy Promoted by the government and initial companies
- Day 5: Why does the present society need a Circular Economy? Visiting Final Waste Disposal Site
- Post script
Day 3: Activities and immersion for circular practice
Day 3 contains two immersive activities in Taito Ward, Tokyo. We visited private facilities working on circular city development.
Up-cycling practice at Rinnebar
The first activity is upcycling crafts at Rinnebar.
Rinnebar is where everyone can enjoy DIY crafts with a glass of drink and hang out with friends, special someone, or just by yourself.
People from all over Japan and abroad love Rinnebar, and people interested in upcycling and crafts often spontaneously mingle with each other.
The troop from the Philippines chose what to make from the various menus Rinnebar provided. All the materials are scrap or recycled items collected throughout Japan.
The key of the Rinnabar activity is that when you create something on your own, you can make it fit precisely in your preference and taste. Eventually, that makes the item even more personal and exclusive that you want to keep it in use as long as possible.
They learned that the circular economy could be realized not only by governments and companies but also by the daily practices of each citizen.
Feel a local circular economy at élab
Another activity of the third day was an interactive workshop at élab, a hub for Circular Economy practice that combines a kitchen and living lab.
Hearing the term “circular economy,” we tend to think it is something governments and corporations should tackle. At élab, however, it proposes a lifestyle allowing locals to choose a sustainable and circular lifestyle daily.
élab has its bulk store in the living lab space. It sells various foods and products based on the up-cycling or circular economy concept.
On the other hand, in the kitchen space, you can enjoy sustainable meals. They use ingredients from root to stem and provide locally made products.
This time, we also focused on packaging sustainability. élab served its food in “Megloo” reusable containers.
While enjoying the meal, Takako, a director of élab, told the history and current status of a circular community in the Kuramae.
Afterward, Takako and the delegates discussed what can be done in local communities in the Philippines, referring to the practices in Kuramae. The discussion led everyone to share their opinions and circumstances in each city, which was the great outcome of visiting élab.
Day 4: Unraveling the Current State of the Circular Economy Promoted by the government and initial companies
What can Governments do toward a sustainable future? Talk with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Here comes Day 4 of the tour. First, we visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and interacted with the Bureau of Environment of TMG.
Presentations by TMG and the Philippine delegates enlivened the two-hour dialogue.
TMG introduced a wide range of examples of public-private partnerships in Tokyo. While it creates positive initiatives, it also faces challenges in gaining understanding and cooperation from various quarters and spreading its activities to the public.
The presentation from TMG was honest and upfront. They did not hesitate to share the issues and difficulties Tokyo is facing at the moment with the delegates from the Philippines.
After the presentations, TMG and the delegates discussed differences in environmental policies, such as environmental conditions, laws, and regulations in each city. The ecological awareness of citizens also varies by the city and cultural background. Those contrasts made a dialogue among governments genuinely unique.
What does the future of resource recycling look like? Discussion with “J-CEP”
The participants had a chance to interact not only with Japan’sJapan’s capital government but also with the Japan Circular Economy Partnership (“J-CEP”.)
J-CEP is a new business co-creation partnership in which companies and others aiming to realize a sustainable society work together with residents, government, universities, and others to promote the Circular Economy.
In this session, J-CEP associate members introduced the background of the organization’s establishment. Its focus was on the projects of circulating plastics and other resources through the cooperation of membership companies.
The Philippine delegate also introduced resource circulation efforts in various cities and general companies in the Philippines.
After the presentations, they shared knowledge widely about the form of circulation in the future.
The whole interaction was undoubtedly curious and attractive.
Day 5: Why does the present society need a Circular Economy? Visiting Final Waste Disposal Site
30 June was the last day of the tour. The troop visited a final waste disposal site owned by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
First, we studied Tokyo’s history, current status, and future waste disposal plans with a facility guide. After the introduction, they took a bus and went on facility guidance. The facility contains the intermediate treatment, where waste is collected, and its final disposal site.
The urgent issue for waste disposal in Tokyo is that if waste is continuously generated at the current rate, the available landfill area will reach saturation within 50 years.
Since Tokyo has a small land area, the marine area is accordingly limited. In addition, some major trading ports are located around Tokyo Bay, so it is impossible to continue to increase the landfill area more.
This means that once the planned areas are completely filled, the waste will have no more places to go.
Throughout this tour, we considered the circular economy from various perspectives. When we think about the current state of waste disposal, we realize that it is a challenge we must tackle right now.
As a developed country, Japan is expected to lead in solving environmental issues. While many innovative ideas are created, however, there are still many internal issues for which solutions still need to be found.
Circular Yokohama is genuinely honored to host our first overseas tour from the Philippines.
We want to express our deepest gratitude to all those who have cooperated in organizing this tour.
While attending the Philippine delegates, Circular Yokohama also visited various sites that support urban circulation. We encountered unique ideas for a brighter future as well as witnessed the reality of waste disposal, for which no concrete solutions have yet been found.
After the tour, we returned to our base” qlaytion gallery” and reflected on our original concept, “Playful Circularity.”
There are many issues left for realizing a sustainable environment and lifestyle. However, through this tour, we found many fellows with the same passion for building a sustainable society. Suppose we join hands with friends and expand the circle of circulation in a fun and playful way. In that case, the circular economy may become commonplace.
Finally, we would like to send millions of thanks again to everyone involved in this tour. Thank you very much for this precious opportunity.
Circular Yokohama will continue to engage in a wide range of activities that contribute to the circular economy.