How policy can encourage sustainable products consumption…Japan case


1) Sustainability Area: Policy

Problem: Stagnating economy and promoting sustainable products consumption

Although the system already ended in 2012, I think it worth introducing how a policy can promote sustainability by encouraging consumers to buy more sustainable technology products. It was called “eco-points” program in Japan.

Japan started the “eco-points” program in June 2009, as part of measures aimed to keep the economy from collapsing in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008. The program offered points for buying energy-efficient products. Those points could then be redeemed for other goods and services.

2) Technology

 Applicable green electrical appliance is refrigerator, air conditioner and digital TV which save more energy than conventional products. They must be scored and accredited as “eco-appliance” through applicable organization.

 3) Deployment

  • After purchasing an energy-efficient appliance or TV, a consumer received from the government eco-points worth 5-10% of the value of the purchase – with each eco-point worth ¥1.
  • The consumer then redeemed these points for a variety of 271 so-called green goods and services listed in a catalog sponsored by the government. These ranged from travel to hamburgers.
  • Eco-points could also be redeemed for gift certificates for family and friends. Indeed, 85% of redemptions were eventually gifts.



  • Policy makers
  • Electrical appliance manufacturer
  • Electrical appliance retail shops
  • Consumer

Issue to be discussed: 

  • Every applicable electrical appliance is a large-sized item like refrigerator and TV, and environmental burden occurs when transporting, discarding or recycling them. The eco-point program does not mention the environmental cost derived from these process.
  • Moreover, considering the consumption decline after the end, it can be said that it invited just “eating ahead of consumption”.


By Daisuke Wakabayashi, The Wall Street Journal, “Japan Seeks an ‘Eco-Points’ Boost”, Aug. 31, 2010, retrieved on Nov. 14th, 2017 from:

By Philip Jessup, “Japan’s Eco-point Program transforms market for LED lamps (MAGAZINE)”,  Jul. 18, 2011, retrieved from:

<Comment on Plastic Bottle Concrete>

The students learned that others have tried to introduce plastic into cement mixtures, but the plastic weakened the resulting concrete. Investigating further, they found evidence that exposing plastic to doses of gamma radiation makes the material’s crystalline structure change in a way that the plastic becomes stronger, stiffer, and tougher.


Fall 2017 – Week 9



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