Zero-waste lifestyle is going to be the lifestyle of the future if we wish to save this world from us. However, right now it is unusual to hear about a whole community striving to become waste-free. Welcome to Kamikatsu in Japan where the residents are so hyped up about recycling that they are aiming to become the nation’s first zero-waste community.
The community has no garbage trucks and residents are required to compost the kitchen scraps at home while washing and sorting out the rest of their trash into 34 various categories followed by bringing it to the recycling centre themselves. Workers at the recycle centres ensure that this waste goes into the correct bins. It took some time for the residents to follow this streamlined process but now it has become a part of their routine and is considered normal.
There are separate bins for different types of paper products as well; newspapers, cartons, magazines and flyers. Plastic bottles and their caps are assigned to different bins as well as aluminium, spray and steel cans. A lot of these items are resold or repurposed into clothing, accessories and toys that are usable. Each bin features a label that shows the recycling process for the particular item thus, allowing the residents to know what happens to their trash.
Kamikatsu highly encourages reuse of products and at a local kuru-kuru shop, residents can exchange used items with new things without any extra cost. The kuru-kuru factory has female employees that make clothes, stuffed dolls and bags out of the items that have been discarded. Businesses are also engaged in this process and are encouraged for becoming responsible when it comes to waste management. The town even features a zero-waste brewery that is housed in a building made of reused materials.
Kamikatsy has a population of a little more than 1,700 and already recycles about 80% of its trash and is quite close to achieving its goal of becoming a zero-waste community. The waste management is being practiced here for a total of 13 years now. All the recycling facilities located in Kamikatsu are being run by a Zero Waste Academy that also arranges for groups of local schoolchildren and foreign visitors to come over and educates them on the benefits of a zero waste lifestyle. The academy receives about 2,500 visitors from all over the world to learn about zero-waste and how the community has managed to implement its principles in such a short span of time.