As climate change looms as an ominous threat, we all need to look for better waste-reduction options. Recycling and conscious consumption make a big difference, but is it possible to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle? The residents of Kamikatsu in Japan believe so. Home to just under 2000 people, this small town is set to become completely trash-free by 2020.
In 2003, the town embarked on their ambitious zero-waste program. After years of incinerating most of their rubbish, the citizens of Kamikatsu realised there had to be a better, more environmentally-friendly way to get rid of their waste. They started their 2020 no-waste revolution by introducing a composting system with 34 designated categories into which garbage could be sorted for reuse – a number that has since grown to 45.
Each household and store is responsible for washing, sorting and delivering their trash to the recycling centre. While it took some time to get used to, this method of waste management soon slipped seamlessly into everyday life. Now, almost 15 years into the initiative, the town recycles around 80% of its waste.