Kamikatsu, a zero-waste village in Japan

Images clockwise from upper-left: The zero-waste Cafe polestar in Kamikatsu where you can experience the local life and locally-sourced food. The re-purposed toys sewed by experienced local people. Their 34-category recycle program. Lush rice fields.

Kamikatsu currently recycles about 80 percent of its trash, and only 20 percent going into a landfill. By 2020, Kamikatsu will become a zero-waste community. In 2003, Kamikatsu declared its zero-waste ambition after the town gave up the practice of dumping trash into an open fire for fear of endangering both the environment and the population.

The residents of Kamikatsu needs to compost their kitchen scraps at home. They have to wash and sort their trash into 34 categories, and bring their trash to the recycling center. Some used items are taken to businesses to be resold or re-purposed into clothing, toys, and accessories. Some of them admit that it was quite tedious in the beginning, but now it becomes natural to separate the trash correctly.

In Japan, businesses are required by law to recycle, and the country’s sorting systems are among the most extensive in the world. In Japan’s second-largest city of Yokohama, with a population of 3.7 million, citizens are given a manual on how to sort more than 500 different items.

For the human health and the environment, we reduce, reuse, and recycle!