Kamikatsu is a small town in Japan that has made a very big difference in the past 15 years. Since 2003, it has been completely waste-free, meaning every single bit of waste is recycled and almost nothing gets thrown in the trash.
WHY DID KAMIKATSU BECOME WASTE-FREE?
Before the town became waste-free, people and businesses used to burn all their own waste regardless of what it was made from. This new way of life was implemented because of the harmful pollution caused by burning their waste, which was making the town unsafe with high levels carbon dioxide emissions.
HOW DID THEY DO IT?
A new way of life had to begin for the people of Kamikatsu, and like all change, it wasn't easy. In the beginning, local residents and businesses struggled to get their heads around the new recycling classification system. This system was the secret to Kamikatsu's success. However, the lists of recyclable materials were extensive with 45 categories to remember.
Once the town got used to the system they soon began to embrace it. Going waste free has shifted the mindset of everyone, and made them all mindful about what they are throwing in the garbage and how they live their lives on the whole.
From the shopkeeper who only buys products in cardboard containers so he can reuse them, to the chef who creates fertilizer from his food waste which local farms use to grow the vegetables he cooks in his restaurant. Everyone in this town has got on board with the change in mindset, and as a result, their wildlife and natural surroundings are now flourishing.
CAN ANY CITY DO IT?
It's true that for big cities such as London or New York, this kind of system, could never work, but there are smaller ways we could all be more mindful about how we dispose of waste. Could you bring a little more of Kamikatsu's environmental ethos into your life?