Sustainability might be the most heated topic recently, as we are losing our invaluable resources and destroying our living condition.Sadly, what most of us did was making empty talks and unpayable promises.While the small Japanese town Kamikatsu is on its misson of building the first ‘zero waste’ community with stringent recycling laws by 2020.And they are almost there.
Fed up with burning their trash with open fire, the town decided to do something for its environment as well as population. In 2003, they declared their ambition of the zero-waste system. Since then, nearly 1,700 residents of the town sort their trash into 34 different categories.
You will definitely be surprise, since this is really impressive.Only for paper products, there’re seperated bins for newspapers, magazines, cartons, and flyers.And for cans, you need to sort them into aluminum, spray and steel ones.So far, their achievement is being capable to recycle 80 per cent of their refuse, leaving only the rest 20 per cent for landfills.
To achieve the impossible goal, each resident needs to sort their own trash, wash them and bring them to the local recycling center. Initially, this sounds crazy to receive any acceptance.”Of course, most of them didn’t understand and got confused at first. At the same time, they claimed that this is bad for the elderly” said Akira Sakano, the Chair of the Board of Directors. But luckily, people do get accustomed to it.”If you get used to it, it becomes normal,” a Kamikatsu resident says in the video. “Now I don’t think about it. It’s become natural to separate the trash correctly.”
As for more originated measure taken to pursue the goal, a factory for repurposing unwanted items into new products is one of the key designs in the system.What’s more, the town also has a shop known as “circular”.People are encouraged to trade their items there.”The recycling center itself is now the most used community place for the town – since every one visits the place to bring their waste, and they meet up with others and that’s where the communication happens,” Sakano said.
Actually, Kamikatsu isn’t the only one that has this amition. “Berkeley, California, which is several hundred thousand people, is close to 80 percent; San Francisco reports 70 percent; and there are several cities in the U.S. that are over 70 percent,” he told to CityLab. “In Italy, they do it similarly to Kamikatsu where they have many different separations and drop off.” However, we can see that NOT very much places can make such ceaseless effort and buckle down on recycling like this small town.
Obviously, one conclusion we know from the Kamikatsu’s case is that, unidirectional governmental regulations would not make any differences, unless the enthusiasm comes from residents themselves.Only when the residents play the main role in the battle for environment, those promises are possible to come true.