...This is a town singularly focused on banishing waste – all waste – by 2020. The 2,000 people of Kamikatsu have dispensed with public trash bins. They set up a Zero Waste Academy to act as a monitor. The town dump has become a sort of outdoor filing cabinet, embracing 34 categories of trash – from batteries to fluorescent lights to bottle caps. On a hill overlooking Kamikatsu are 15 windmills, just completed, that it will maintain in cooperation with two neighboring towns...
“Towns everywhere are dealing with the same issue – how to be sustainable,” he comments. The Internet has boosted his fellow citizens’ sense of themselves as international players who should observe and be observed, exchanging tips with counterparts around the world. He also says it was time to go against the tide of gauging wealth by the accumulation of more stuff. “We want to produce things that take into account what happens after it’s used. If it can’t be recycled in any way, then you can’t produce it.” The town now has an 80 percent recycling rate, up from 55 percent 10 years ago. The local hotel – where tourists arrive by the busload to dip into baths fed by mountain hot springs – is heated with biomass burners, saving 7 million yen annually (about $72,000) and reducing its CO2 emissions.
Friday, May 29, 2009
The Japanese town of Kamikatsu plans to ban waste by 2020: