All around the world, communities, businesses, and even entire countries are making a more conscious effort to cut back on their waste production. The town of Kamikatsu, Japan has recently joined this growing list and, in my opinion, stands as a true inspiration and leader in the zero waste movement.

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Home to only 1,700 people, Kamikatsu is a relatively small community which has set the very big goal of becoming completely waste free by the year 2020. The town is already well on their way, with approximately 80% of their current waste being recycled, composted, or reused.

The key was the implementation of a very strict recycling program that requires residents to separate their waste into 34 categories. The task certainly seems tedious and unrealistic, but most community members have now accepted and actively participate in the initiative that was started in 2003.

The driving force behind this program was a collective realization of how much unnecessary damage the town’s previous waste management method — open incineration — was inflicting. The community banded together and has since created a system that is truly quite remarkable. Check it out:

What I particularly appreciate about the efforts of Kamikatsu is how the town has created a true community environment where everyone works together to make a seemingly very complicated program work well. They identified the negative impact that their previous method was having on the community and took collective action to put an end to it and create the environment in which they would actually like to live.

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The development of the factory that makes items from previously discarded pieces and the shop that invites residents to bring in and take used items for free have, I believe, also helped make their initiative a success. They seem to have embedded recycling into the community culture and the end result will certainly be something from which everyone can benefit.


To see some other remarkable stories in the zero waste movement, I encourage you to check out any of the following articles:

Sweden Runs Out Of Garbage: Only 1% Ends Up In Landfills

She Hasn’t Made Any Trash In 2 Years. This Is What Her Life Is Like

This Restaurant Hasn’t Produced Trash In Over 2 Years

What are your thoughts on the zero waste efforts of Kamikatsu? Do you feel that their 34 category trash system is unrealistic? Or do you see them as an inspiration? Let us know via the comment section below.

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