Fight with Garbage and Waste in Kamikatsu

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Location: town located in Katsuura District, Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. In 2016 the town had an estimated population of nearly 1,500 (2016 survey). The total area is 109.68 km².

Reason for construction: The government in Kamiketsu was concerned about the health of its citizens because the town used incineration to dispose of their waste, like most towns in Japan. New laws were introduced that meant that residents would no longer be able to burn their waste in their back yard or dispose of their waste into the environment. The the cost of incineration increased six fold.

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Strategies: The town has a kuru- kuru (circlular) shop where people can drop off items that are no longer necessary or take anything for free. In 2016, 13 tonnes of objects were placed into the kuru-kuru shop and 11 tonnes were taken. They also have a kuru- kuru factory that employs the local women to make various items out of discarded fabric. For example: making teddy bears out of clothes and a jacket out of flags. The Rise and Win Brewery was opened in Kamikatsu and is constructed completely out of reclaimed materials. It even has recycled furniture like a bottle chandelier. As the recycling centre does not have any food waste due to residents composting their scraps, it does not smell and residents normally come to chat, turning it into something akin to a community centre. Above all of their 45 different bins there is the type of rubbish, where it goes, what it gets remade into and also how much the town gets back when they recycle it. For example in 2015, the town earned 155 yen (1.89 AUD) per kilogram for aluminium cans alone.

Change in attitude: There were new laws introduced which meant that it would cost six times more to burn as the nearest incenerator was in another town. This meant that the town had to consider how they were to dispose of their rubbish. In 2003, the townspeople of Kamiketsu declared that their town would generate zero waste, and would reconsider how they would dispose of their rubbish. They realised how much of an impact incineration had on the environment, and hese reasons prompted the residents of the town to implement a zero-waste scheme.

Outcome: The town now has an ambition goal of zero waste by 2020. So far it has managed to reach 80% of their target, this is mainly through having 45 (upgraded from 34) different categories to sort their waste into. This includes bottle caps, cans, styrofoam meat trays and water bottles Everything has to be properly washed otherwise it becomes contaminated. Some of the residents do not enjoy this aspect, however, this scheme has many benefits as well. On top of being good for the environment, it has reduced the cost for the community. All of the food scraps are composted. Restaurants will compost their food scraps, which will then be put into the farms and the produce will then come to them again. There are no garbage trucks that come to pick up your rubbish. Only 20% of the residents’ waste still goes to landfill (2015) and it will be harder to completely have zero waste. However, the town has achieved so much over only a short amount of time and is is now an inspiration to how many cities should act.

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