Tue, Jun 18, 2019 - Page 13 News List

Getting to zero: a town in Japan tries to recycle all its waste

By Natsuko Fukue  /  AFP, KAMIKATSU, Japan

Kazuyuki Kiyohara, manager of the waste center, said plastic makes up the majority of the residents’ waste — and despite the scheme there has been little reduction in consumption.

“Our lifestyle depends mainly on plastic,” the 38-year-old said, adding: “Consumers can reduce plastic waste to a certain extent, but we’ll still have waste if producers keep making plastic products.”

Japan’s government unveiled a proposal last year to tackle plastic waste, with the goal of reducing the 9.4 million tonnes produced by the country each year by a quarter by 2030.

The plan proposes that retailers should charge for plastic bags — a measure already widely adopted around the world — but that isn’t expected to come into effect before next year and other types of plastic packaging won’t be covered.

Town official Suga said even Kamikatsu will struggle to achieve zero-waste without stronger efforts to reduce consumption.

“We have made efforts to achieve zero incineration and zero landfill disposal goals, but it’s not enough,” she said, adding: “We shouldn’t focus just on how to dispose of trash. We need to come up with policies that prevent the production of waste.”

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