Impact of waste management in Kamikatsu

When you plan waste management in your area, city or town, it comes with certain changes. It is not easy to change the whole system all at once but one should always know and understand the consequences of their planning and action. Let’s talk about the impact of waste management faced by Kamikatsu, the cleanest town in the world.

Zero-waste has been a challenging shift for the town, but the three pillars of sustainable tourism development have been kept in planning thanks to collaboration between the municipal office, a local NGO, local stakeholders, and young entrepreneurs. There is great environmental stewardship, residents of the community have been helped, and new sources of revenue have been provided through tourism and new industries.

Educating and encouraging residents to participate – The waste collection centre also serves at an education centre. Though the town has been practicing mandatory source separation since 1990’s, new developments in products and packaging materials make it difficult to fully understand waste sorting. The sorting stations are equipped by well-informed associates who are available to help and answer and queries of the residents. Brochures and pamphlets describing types of wastes and methods of sorting are available for the residents. The segregation bins are well labelled with all required information.

Residents interest towards sustainability – The people are the key factors in the successful implementation of the zero-waste programme through Kamikatsu. The kuru-kuru workshops engaged senior-citizens to participate in re-using cottons to make new products. These activities keep them busy and reduce the need for nursing and care facilities in town. Introduction of a point-based system to motivate residents to separate paper waste was a success. To encourage paper sorting and recycling, the school created a rewards program. Residents who sorted paper from other garbage earned points that could be used to purchase items. Companies that voluntarily collect things for recycling and reuse, such as toothbrushes and detergent refill packets, were eventually added to the scheme.

Exceptions for the public – Kamikatsu has no-truck policy for trash pickup. Local residents are required to drive up their trash to the collection centre during its business hours. The municipality made exceptions for the people without cars. The municipal office provides them with a pickup service with an interval of 2 months .

The economic impact – The overall general waste management expenditure of Japanese municipalities and cooperatives was over two trillion Japanese yen in fiscal year 2019, up from around 1.8 trillion yen in fiscal 2010 (Klein, 2021). A cost-benefit analysis carried out in 1995 reflected that a 100% composting of kitchen waste is environmentally friendly and significantly cuts down the costs, a 100% composting rule was mandated.

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