With the large prominence of plastic in nearly every aspect of our society, sometimes it's difficult to imagine how we would function without creating mass waste. However, just because it is not imaginable, doesn't mean it can't happen.
Kamikatsu is a small village in Japan that took its commitment to the sustainable living movement and brought it to a whole new level.
The average recycling rate in other areas of Japan is 20%.
Kamikatsu's recycling rate is a staggering 80%
That's 4 times more!
Although they still do produce waste, it is a huge step forward.
The town has set a Zero Waste Declaration in hopes of becoming COMPLETELY WASTE-FREE by 2020.
It is important for us to be aware that simple recycling DOES NOT help us achieve the same goal. The reasons why Kamikatsu can achieve such a high recycling rate is because they have OVER 45 CATEGORIES of heavily regulated recycling bins, whereas most other countries only have 3 or 4.
Other recycling issues outside of Kamikatsu are:
1. We don't have enough bin categories! Meaning that the majority of "recycled" waste is actually not recycled at all!
2. Many people wrongly categorize waste causing recycling companies to discard the whole bin completely
3. Products often can't be recycled because they are made up of more than one material. *Recycling companies separate them materials either since it would take too much work + energy (e.g., toothbrushes, razors, boxes with labels)
4. It is easy to regulate a town, but very different for larger cities
The best way to reduce pollution is to reduce waste in the first place
Reduced waste means less recycling is needed. With reduced recycling, we would also be reducing energy waste required in the recycling process itself.
Meaning we should buy less plastic products, make eco-friendly swaps, and only then do we recycle the rest.