The circular economy at a micro level

In our current economic system, we extract resources and turn them into products that we dispose of after use.

This practice is not only wasteful (those products could be used for other purposes) but it also has a negative effect on the environment.

The concept of the circular economy may be applied at community levels and can help reduce household waste through sharing and re-use. This, in turn, creates benefits for local municipalities by reducing the amount of waste to collect and the pressure on landfills.

In Japan, the residents of Kamikatsu have applied the circular economy model at a micro level. The residents are responsible for sorting their waste and taking it to a collection centre as there are no garbage trucks. The village, which aims at having “zero waste”, has 34 separate categories of recycling items, including aluminium cans, spray cans, cardboard, magazines, steel cans, and more. Kamikatsu also has a “circular shop” where villagers can bring items to swap with their neighbours. There is also a recycling factory, where women make new bags from old clothes.

The village of Kamikatsu is a great example of how the implementation of the circular economy model encourages the repurposing of items, otherwise regarded as waste, into something of value.

Watch how this little village is actively moving towards having “zero waste” here.