A Comparative Study of Waste Classification Laws and Policies: Lessons from the United States, Japan and China

  • Lai Wei
  • Yi LuEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 1002)


With the rapid increase of municipal solid waste (MSW), the phenomenon of waste siege exists all over the world. To solve this problem, waste classification is wildly applied. Previous studies have shown that residents’ support for laws and policies, as a critical factor, is often conducive to waste classification. At present, governments around the world have enacted waste classification laws and policies (WCLP) for MSW reduction. In order to construct a sound WCLP system, we analyzed and compared the typical WCLP systems of the United States, Japan and China. It shows that these three countries are focused on making laws and/or policies according to their own national conditions or specific situations. A more general legal system for the waste classification in various countries has been summarized. It would be beneficial to the thorny problem solving of waste siege faced by most of the countries and the new idea conceiving for global sustainable development.


Waste classification and recycling Laws and policies Comparative analysis Sustainable development 



This research is supported by the Humanity and Social Science Youth Foundation of Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. 17YJC630096).


  1. 1.
    Apip, A.: Study of law development policy in government act liability as state administrative tools. Public Policy Adm. Res. 4(4), 76–84 (2014)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chen, F., Luo, Z. et al.: Enhancing municipal solid waste recycling through reorganizing waste pickers: A case study in nanjing, china. Waste Manag. Res. J. Int. Solid Wastes Public Clean. Assoc. Iswa 734242X18766216 (2018)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chen, M.F., Tung, P.J.: The moderating effect of perceived lack of facilities on consumers’ recycling intentions. Environ. Behav. 42(6), 824–844 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Courtenayhall, P., Rogers, L.: Gaps in mind: Problems in environmental knowledge-behaviour modelling research. Environ. Educ. Res. 8(3), 283–297 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Daniel, H., Perinaz, B.T., Chris, K.: Environment: Waste production must peak this century. Nature 502(7473), 615–7 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Elmore, R.F.: Instruments and strategy in public policy. Rev. Policy Res. 7(1), 174–186 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gamba, R.J., Oskamp, S.: Factors influencing community residents’ participation in commingled curbside recycling programs. Environ. Behav. 26(5), 587–612 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Grazhdani, D.: Assessing the variables affecting on the rate of solid waste generation and recycling: An empirical analysis in prespa park. Waste Manag. 48, 3–13 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Han, H., Zhang, Z., Xia, S.: The crowding-out effects of garbage fees and voluntary source separation programs on waste reduction: Evidence from china. Sustainability 8, 1–17 (2016)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hopper, J.R., Yaws, C.L., et al.: Waste minimization by process modification. Waste Manag. 13(3C4), 349–350 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kollmuss, A.J.A.: Mind the gap: Why do people act environmentally and what are the barriers to pro-environmental behavior? Environ. Educ. Res. 8(3), 239–260 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Peretz, J.H.: Waste management agenda setting: A case of incorrect problem definition? Waste Manag. Res. 16(3), 202–209 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Peretz, J.H., Tonn, B.E., Folz, D.H.: Explaining the performance of mature municipal solid waste recycling programs. J. Environ. Plan. Manag. 48(5), 627–650 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Pietzsch, N., Ribeiro, J.L.D., Medeiros, J.F.D.: Benefits, challenges and critical factors of success for zero waste: A systematic literature review. Waste Manag. 67, 324 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rauwal, M.C.F.K.S.: Environmental attitudes as predictors of policy support across three countries. Environ. Behav. 34(6), 709–739 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sidique, S.F., Joshi, S.V., Lupi, F.: Factors influencing the rate of recycling: An analysis of minnesota counties. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 54(4), 242–249 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Starr, J., Nicolson, C.: Patterns in trash: Factors driving municipal recycling in massachusetts. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 99, 7–18 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Steg, L., Vlek, C.: Encouraging pro-environmental behaviour: An integrative review and research agenda. J. Environ. Psychol. 29(3), 309–317 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Storey, D., Santucci, L., Fraser, R., Aleluia, J., Chomchuen, L.: Designing effective partnerships for waste-to-resource initiatives: Lessons learned from developing countries. Waste Manag. Res. 33(12), 1066–1075 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tonglet, M., Phillips, P.S., Read, A.D.: Using the theory of planned behaviour to investigate the determinants of recycling behaviour: A case study from brixworth, uk. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 41(3), 191–214 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wan, C., Shen, G.Q., Yu, A.: The role of perceived effectiveness of policy measures in predicting recycling behaviour in hong kong. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 83(83), 141–151 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wan, C., Shen, G.Q., Yu, A.: Key determinants of willingness to support policy measures on recycling: A case study in hong kong. Environ. Sci. Policy 54, 409–418 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Wen, X., Luo, Q., et al.: Comparison research on waste classification between china and the eu, Japan, and the USA. J. Mater. Cycles Waste Manag. 16(2), 321–334 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Wilson, D.C., Velis, C.A.: Waste management - still a global challenge in the 21st century: An evidence-based call for action. Waste Manag. Res. J. Int. Solid Wastes Public Clean. Assoc. Iswa 33(12), 1049 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Xin, T., Tao, D.: The rise and fall of a “waste city” in the construction of an “urban circular economic system”: The changing landscape of waste in beijing. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 107, 10–17 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Yong, C.W., Lian, F.X.: Analysis of the barrier factors of municipal solid waste classification recycling. Adv. Mater. Res. 726–731, 2618–2621 (2013)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Business SchoolSichuan UniversityChengduPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations