Zero waste town in Eastern Japan

Filed in Videos by on July 16, 2008 10 Comments
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The rubbish collectors never come to Kamikatsu, a town on Shikoku Island in eastern Japan.

The local council decided to go “Zero Waste” as it was cheaper and more environmentally friendly than buying an incinerator.

Everything must be composted or sorted into one of 34 recycling categories. Environment analyst Roger Harrabin paid a visit.
reference from

This looks like a good idea to me, or is it Japanese authoritarianism gone too far? Maybe we just have got it too comfortable here in the western world, too much liberty to abuse each other and the planet and ignore the consequences … what do you think?

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  1. Kel says:

    looks like the height of responsibility to me, i wish my council ( and my electorate) was up to this!

  2. Mr. Green says:

    Hi Kel, I thought this was a great video detailing what could certainly be the future. As one of the recycling plant workers said it’s good for the economy and it’s good for the enviroment. I guess Shikoku Island is fairly small, so there is not not too much travelling to then centre. To implement such a thing here on that scale would be a huge investment and organisation. It still gets my vote.

  3. how sane!a large lesson from a small island, the video on Kamikatsu recycling is an inspiring tool.
    it seems that if each person must account for each item thrown away, a philosophy of accountability will emerge from the careless consumption which has led us to mountainous rubbish culture.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    Nadine – I love your words; you speak so eloquently and impart words that represent my truth too.
    Thank you 🙂

  5. Shannon says:

    I used to live in Japan. Shikoku is not a small island, it’s about 18,800 square kilometers, bigger than Northern Ireland. But this video is about just one city in Shikoku. It’s true the Japanese do recycle a lot. I lived in Hiroshima which recycles more than 80% of waste, similar to what you see in the video, but with curbside pick-up in urban areas.

    One thing that I don’t like though: the stuff that isn’t recycled is mixed with bulldozed earth and put on the coast to expand the area of Japan. This is called “Land Reclamation”. Lots of large areas in Hiroshima and Osaka are buildings built on top of this “reclaimed” land that would have been in the Pacific Ocean forty years ago. It’s not very attractive.

    Good video though, I’ve often thought other countries could learn a lot from the Japanese system.

  6. Mrs Green says:

    Hey Shannon, welcome to the site and thanks for your great comment – we live and learn and it’s wonderful to hear from someone who has actually been there and knows the places. Thank you for the corrections.
    The idea of ‘land reclamation’ sounds awful 🙁
    Your blog is great btw; I thoroughly enjoyed reading it this morning.

  7. Shannon says:

    How nice you are!

  8. glenn says:

    If we are forced to have these large communal dustbins for 40 households then this is a BIG step backwards in recycling as people will fly tip and dump under darkness and take the lazy option – because apathy is the key ingredient in this country. Everyone is going to have to get used to recycling so get used to IT NOW. Why will the councils not take all other plastics instead of ones numbered 1 and 2 only and why are manufactures not forced to use only these two numbers when making food trays and other packaging etc.? We hardly ever put our dustbin out (4-5 week intervals) and our neighbours bin is always with the lid up every week. Frustrating to witness such waste going to the landfill.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Glenn,

    Welcome to the site.

    We agree that this country could do more. All we can do though, is encourage householders to do as much as they can within the limitations we all have.

    Apathy and laziness can rule, but we are seeing more and more people, like yourself, who are doing what they can and it’s good to focus on this. This is to be celebrated and you never know who you might influence in your day to day life by mentioning things in conversation and by your actions. It’s great when we can become part of the solution and not dwell on the problem 🙂

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