123 Trash-less City

Holy Crap Accomplishment: Trash-less City

  • Kamikatsu is a rural town of about 2,000 people in the forested mountains of Japan’s Shikoku island.
  • Kamikatsu adopted a “zero waste” policy in 2003. Before that, the town used to burn all its trash in incinerators.
  • Zero Waste is “a philosophy not to produce rubbish or contaminate our natural environment.”
  • 45 different categories of recyclables, and the town recycles 80 percent of its trash.
  • 9 subcategories for paper.
  • Zero Waste Academy, a non-profit organization that manages the recycling program.
  • When waste decomposes in landfills, it releases methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases. A large amount of that methane leaks into the atmosphere, heating up the planet.
  • If trash gets incinerated instead of dumped in a landfill, the burning garbage pumps carbon emissions into the air.
  • 6x less to recycle than incinerate
  • No trash trucks
  • Residents recycle – only 20% end up in dumpster
  • 14 bins at home
  • Wash food containers before recycling
  • 15 years ago – clear plastic garbage bags – had to write your name on it – public exposure
  • Town has become model for the world, attracting interest in their Zero Waste Academy

Holy Crap Thinking:

  • Target world class results
  • Government Mandate
  • People Comply – part of culture – work within people’s parameters
  • Social Pressure

Holy Crap Quote:

“I believe that it is important to aim towards a higher target . . . with higher goals, one can exhaustively identify and acknowledge necessary steps, issues and stakeholders to achieve them.”

Akira Sakano, chairperson of the Zero Waste Academy,

Holy Crap Challenge:

Think Bigger: Raise your standards.

Reach Higher: Don’t dismiss but engage. Set high standards.

Do the Impossible: Don’t settle for “good enough” keep pushing for that standard

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