A Look Inside Kamikatsu, Japan’s Zero Waste City

Could you imagine living in a zero waste city? The small town of Kamikatsu is a place where the people manage to divert essentially all of their waste from the landfill.

In 2003, Kamikatsu set a goal of becoming completely waste-free by 2020. Prior to setting that goal, the town would send the majority of their waste to the incinerator. They soon realized the negative impacts on public health including poor air quality that openly burning their trash created and quickly made the shift towards reducing, reusing, and recycling as much as possible.

There are officially 45 categories that the residents of Kamikatsu can sort their waste into. There are receptacles for newspaper, aluminum, batteries, light bulbs, wooden chopsticks, and tires just to name a few. There are no garbage trucks so community members visit a central location and sort the materials themselves. Many people find that the activity of sorting trash in a community space allows them to connect with their neighbors.

Although less than 1,500 people currently live in the town of Kamikatsu, the dream of zero waste isn’t impossible for larger cities. There are many lessons to be learned which can be adapted to communities everywhere. There is a free community story where people can get children’s clothes and buildings are made of and furnished with recycled and secondhand materials

Kamikatsu has managed to divert 80% of its waste away from the landfill through their zero waste initiatives. To make any progress beyond that, they are calling on policy and systemic changes. There are so many communities around the world are innovating solutions to reduce waste. Could you imagine the city where you live generating zero waste? If not, what would you need to get there?


Daydreaming is an important tool for building a better future.

That’s why we created 10 digital journaling prompts to help you daydream. We want to help you create space to reflect and imagine a better, more sustainable, and more equitable world.

The cover of this journal was created by Aneesha Reddy. Aneesha an artist and conscious upcycler based in Hyderabad, India. This artwork is created on cold-pressed paper using naturally-sourced paints, adorned with fabric waste collected from tailor stores. Each material used to create this artwork is handpicked and unique with a beautiful story of history, culture, and nature.

These journals were printed locally in Seattle on 100% FSC Certified post-consumer waste paper. They will be shipped in recycled (and curbside recyclable!) kraft paper mailers.