Earth & Conservation

The Town in Japan That Produces Zero Trash

How do they do it?

This is Kamikatsu in southeast Japan.

In 2003, the local government in Kamikatsu decided to require that all residents comply with a new, rigorous recycling program.

Residents must wash and sort virtually anything that is non-compostable in their household before bringing it to the recycling and sorting center.

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.

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.

Check out the full documentary about Kamikatsu's zero waste program: How This Town Produces No Trash