IMPACT

This Japanese Town Is On Target To Produce Zero Trash

One town's trash in another town's treasure.

We need to do some serious trash talking about Kamikatsu, Japan.

Since taking on a rigorous recycling program, this southeastern town of 1,700 people is on target to produce zero waste, according to a documentary produced by the Seeker Network.

After noticing the deleterious effects of incinerating its garbage, the town adopted a mandatory sanitation program that’s nothing to stick your nose up at. Since 2003, all residents now wash, clean and sort their trash into 34 categories.

The intensive process has ensured that 80 percent of all waste gets recycled, reused or composted, and 20 percent is sent to landfills.

But by 2020, Kamikatsu plans on having no use for landfills.

Since the town has no garbage trucks or collectors, residents are responsible for composting at home and bringing the rest of their discards to the city’s recycling center, where the monitors make sure everything is being handled properly. 

While residents admit that the program is “hard work” they’re already seeing the benefits of their efforts.

The main recycling center shares signs explaining how each item is going to be repurposed and how much money it will save the town.

This little town’s approach to recycling has already surpassed the expectations of world leaders.

Back in September, the U.N. adopted its Sustainable Development Goals, one of which included vowing to “expand international cooperation” for reuse and recycling by 2030.  

Kamikatsu has also already expanded its operations well beyond what takes place at the main recycling center.

The town has a “kuru-kuru” shop, where customers can drop off old items and take other items in the store home for free. It also has a factory where sewers turn old clothes, flags and kimonos into teddy bears, bags and other useful items.

Residents say it was challenging to adjust to the new rules at first, but now it’s just become part of their everyday routine.

"It can be a pain, and at first we were opposed to the idea," Hatsue Katayama, a resident, told Seekers Network. "If you get used to it, it becomes normal.”

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