Kamikatsu: A near zero waste town in Japan

Kamikatsu, a small town in western Japan, is almost zero waste. The town composts, recycles, or reuses a staggering 80% of its trash, while the remaining 20% ends up in landfill.

In 2003, the local government in Kamikatsu, Japan decided to require that all residents comply with a new, rigorous recycling program – arguably “the most rigorous in the world”.

Residents sort their trash into specific categories like aluminum cans, steel cans, paper cartons, and paper flyers.

Check out this video where Kamikatsu residents explain their transition to zero waste. Since the making of the video, Kamikastu has since expanded its recycling program to include 45 categories.

The impacts have been positive – cutting costs for the community drastically, as well as improving the conditions of the lush and beautiful environment that surrounds the town in Southeast Japan.

The recycling initiative saves the village a third of its former costs from waste incineration. By 2020, Kamikatsu hopes to be completely zero waste.

 

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