Tasaki T., Hashimoto S., Moriguchi Y. (2008) Activity-based Cost Accounting for Municipal Solid Waste Management. ISWA2008 Paper Summaries Book, CD-ROM
In Japan, cost is one of the controversial issues concerning waste management and recycling. Japan put into force its Container and Packaging Recycling Act in 1996 and revised it in 2006. In the discussions on revising the act, the high recycling/collecting cost was criticized, and the efficacy of the Recycling Act was questioned. Meanwhile, traditional municipal solid waste disposal costs differ significantly from municipality by municipality, by more than 10-fold. These social movements led the Japanese Ministry of the Environment to establish a standard of cost accounting for municipal waste management in June 2007. However, the cost accounting standard has an issue: it does not reveal the average cost of each waste management activity such as collection, intermediate treatment, and final disposal, at a national level.
This study estimated the cost of each waste management activity in Japan from FY 1996 to FY 2004 using data from the national municipal solid waste survey conducted by the Ministry of the Environment. Because several data items were investigated with no distinction in waste management activities, the allocation of such items of expenditure to each activity was performed. As a result, the unit cost of waste collection was estimated to be approximately $210/ton-waste ($1 = \105) and it was stable during FY 1996 to FY 2004. That of intermediate waste treatment was approximately $267/ton and decreased in FY 2006 to $190/ton because of the addition of equipment for preventing dioxin emission to incineration plants had been completed and thus the cost was reduced. The unit cost of final disposal (landfilling) increased from $139/ton in FY 1996 to approximately $385/ton in FY 2004. This increase can be attributed to the increase in initial costs of landfill. It was estimated to be $365/ton, which means that the installation cost of landfill in FY 2004 was much higher than that in the past, and although this does not represent the average initial costs of landfills operating then, cost would increase soon thereafter.