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What if the bin lorry never came?

By Trash Talk on Jul 30, 08 10:00 AM

A real zero waste community in Japan is finding out.

The town of Kamikatsu on the island of Shikoku in Japan has adopted a zero waste strategy and rather than just talking about "a commitment to zero waste" or stating "they are working towards zero waste", they are doing it for real.

The townsfolk do not have any waste or recycling collection from the household.

Making the householder deal with all the waste they generate creates a pressure to reduce the amount of waste generated in the first place.

So it should come as no surprise that they are into composting in a major way.

What is a refreshing surprise is that everyone is sorting out their waste into 34 different categories. This is called source segregation - a method of collecting that results in high quality recyclate.

The householder than has to take the sorted material either to the local shops or the Kamikatsu Zero Waste Centre.

Of course sorting out your recycling is just one part of the zero waste story. Questions about what you buy, how it is made, how it is transported, how long it can be used for, what can be done with it after it has been used, still need to be answered.

I am sure the people of Kamikatsu recognise these issues: some of the material they collect will be difficult or impossible to recycle (not the villagers' fault but something that has to be tackled by the product designers) and what about the extra carbon footprint of people taking their material to the zero waste centre.

However, focussing on the potential problems and faults ignores the wider success - this is something that is being done now.

Read more about the story here.

Do you think the Kamikatsu's method is something that can transfer to larger town and cities?

Would work in the UK?

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