Since 2003, the small town of Kamikatsu, Japan has worked to become a zero waste community by rigorously composting, reusing, and recycling their materials, and they are close to the goal: As of 2015, only 20% of their garbage goes into their local landfill, and the village has embraced the practice. From Seeker Stories:
Residents must wash and sort virtually anything that is non-compostable in their household before bringing it to the recycling sorting center. Shampoo bottles, caps, cans, razors, styrofoam meat trays, water bottles…the list goes on and on (literally) into 34 categories. At the sorting center, labels on each bin indicate the recycling process for that specific item – how it will be recycled, what it will become, and how much that process can cost (or even earn). It’s an education process for the consumer…
All kitchen scraps must be composted at home, as the town has no garbage trucks or collectors.
At first, it was difficult to be come accustomed to the new rules. “It can be a pain, and at first we were opposed to the idea,” says resident, Hatsue Katayama. “If you get used to it, it becomes normal.”
…By 2020, Kamikatsu hopes to be 100% zero waste, with no use of landfills, and to forge connections with other like-minded communities in the world, spreading the practice of zero-waste.
See related photos at The Guardian from 2008: Waste not, want not.
Watch these next: Kintsugi & kintsukuroi – The art of pottery mending with gold and Casa ecológica de botellas (The Ecological Bottle House). Plus, more videos about recycling, composting, and sustainability.