Documentary uncovers the recycling habits behind Japan’s zero-waste community

Seeker Stories documents a small town in Japan that abides by an extremely thorough recycling system to live waste-free.

For the approximately 1 572 people living in Japan’s South Western town of Kamikatsu, sorting their waste into 34 trash categories is almost a daily occurrence. Although the town is now quite renowned for its zero-waste programme, this short documentary recently created by Seeker Stories offers us an inside look at the recycling habits of the community.

The documentary zooms in on the townspeople who have become accustomed to the meticulous recycling ritual laid out in the zero-waste programme manual. Each household knows how to sort trash, which involves procedures like separating the labelling, cap and container when disposing of a plastic bottle or splitting up different types of paper waste.

By 2020, Kamikatsu hopes to become the country’s first ‘zero-waste’ community – an easily attainable goal considering that it already recycles 80 per cent of its trash. The programme has been running since 2003 and although it took time for residents to adjust to the recycling system, they are now experts at washing, sorting and delivering their trash to the local recycling centre, where the waste gets recycled or repurposed.