A world without waste? Japan leads the way.

Residents of the town of Kamikatsu, Japan hope to become the nation’s first zero-waste community by 2020. The town has a population of just over 1,000 and recycles 80% of its rubbish.

The town takes recycling extremely seriously: it doesn’t even have rubbish vans  – meaning that residents have to sort their own waste into over 30 different categories and take it to the recycling centre themselves. The town has managed to streamline the whole recycling process by providing separate bins for different types of products – even sorting paper into different types.

Nothing goes to waste in Kamikatsu, and the local ‘kuru-kuru’ shops allows residents to swap used goods with new things for no extra charge. The old goods are then turned into new items such as bags, clothes and stuffed toys. Even businesses are encouraged to participate in responsible waste management. The town is also home to a zero-waste brewery, housed in a building constructed of reused materials.

The residents of Kamikatsu have been practicing prudent waste management for the past 13 years, giving up their old practice of dumping their rubbish into large open fires.

There is definitely a lesson to be learnt from the residents of Kamikatsu, and it is worth watching to see if they reach their goal in 2020.

Aimee Thomas, Trainee Solicitor