Countries see Japan’s trash-to-energy plants as solution to garbage woes

Countries in Southeast Asia struggling with garbage, some of it imported from developed countries, are turning their attention to Japan’s trash-to-energy technology, according to a press report.

Countries like the Philippines struggling with illegal garbage imports are turning their attention to trash-to-energy technology.

Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported Monday member states of ASEAN are signaling interest in Japan’s waste management facilities that combust waste to produce electricity.

The technology could be of use in countries like the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, that have been dumping most plastics into the ocean.

Some of the countries have been accused of being the most serious polluters, but they are also coping with garbage that is being imported from developed countries, like Canada.


Japan operates more than 380 trash-to-energy plants domestically, and has been focused on resource recovery since the 1960s. One of three incinerators in Japan has power generation facilities. According to the Nikkei, Japan is pursuing initial agreements with Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Tokyo’s goal is to conclude technical agreements with 10 “regions” and build waste-to-energy plants in the region.

The Japanese government has allocated more than $18 million toward site investigation and pre-contracting activities for fiscal year 2019. Japan is also actively promoting the plants to interested countries, the Nikkei states.


The report comes at a time when neighboring South Korea has agreed to strengthen cooperation with the Philippines, following the illicit export of South Korean garbage to the Southeast Asian nation.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Tuesday Seoul’s customs agency signed a memorandum of understanding to restrict illegal trash exports to the Philippines.

In 2018, a private South Korean company had illegally exported 6,000 tons of waste to the Philippines, which was returned to Korea following complaints.


The incident triggered protests in the Philippines, and similar rallies were held following revelations Canada had exported illegal garbage to the country.

ByElizabeth Shim