The 2,000 residents of Kamikatsu, a Japanese village of on the island of Shikoku, have set out create the first zero waste environment by the year 2020. Forced to rethink the way they managed waste due to strict new regulations on dioxin emissions, which shut down their two incinerators, they formed the nonprofit Zero Waste Academy to create a solution.
Kitchen waste must be composted and everything else is separated into 34 categories. Everything from bottles and batteries to phones, cigarette lighters and razors have a place to go. Once separated, everything in good condition is neatly organized in the Kuru Kuru recycling store where residents are free to drop off or pick up whatever they like free of charge. Most categories of trash are recycled in clever ways. Chopsticks are pulped and made into paper and cooking oil is turned into fertilizer.
It's a huge initiative and one that is proving successful. While their solution is a bit extreme, I hope that their success will continue to inspire others to be more conscious of what they use, reuse and throw away.
You can read more about it here: Japan’s New Action Plan for Accelerating the Establishment of Sound Material-Cycle Societies Internationally through the 3Rs.”
*photo from here by photographer Robert Gilhooly