[NOMADE DES MERS] At the zero waste village

Carnet de bord

Date of publication : July 11th, 2019
Author : Guénolé Conrad, Corentin De Chatelperron
Localisation : Kamikatsu, Japon

Do you sometimes have trouble finding your way around 3 sorting garbage cans ? These residents use 45 different ones !

573 kg is the average amount of waste that each of us produces per year in France. Do you really know what happens to it ?

  • 42% are recycled
  • 32% are incinerated
  • 26% are stored, buried or sent to poor countries…
Poubelles de tri

Our stopover in Japan led us to Kamikatsu, a small village of 1800 inhabitants, in the middle of rice fields and Japanese mountains. Its particularity ? This model village recycles 80% of its waste ! In 2003, after investing a lot of money in an incinerator and observing a strong increase of dioxin in the air, a group of citizens reacted and founded the Zéro Waste Academy ゼロ・ウェイストアカデミー(NPO法人). By proving that recycling is synonymous with economy, job creation and social link, this collective has managed to get its inhabitants, merchants and public authorities involved.

Among them, Terumi, founder of Cafe Polestar. For her, sorting is necessary. But above all, it is necessary to avoid the production of waste at the base, by buying local and by refusing the non reusable. Zero waste is much more than a set of techniques to reduce waste, it is a philosophy of life! To better understand, she invites us to meet Nakamuro, a Japanese master in the art of voluntary simplicity, at his home in the heart of wooded hills.

According to this true sage, each person must seek the way of life that corresponds to him. For him, time is the most precious thing at his disposal. His technique to appreciate it ? Do things slowly. Thus, cutting an onion or lighting a fire soon feels like a ceremony. And because everything takes time, he doesn’t want to own too many things. He would be overwhelmed.

Our exploration of the zero waste philosophy naturally led us to the Tokyo area, to the home of Naoki, one of the founders of the minimalist movement. An empty apartment but a head full of convictions: owning less stuff is :

  • Less maintenance means more time for family and friends.
  • Savings, therefore less need to work.
  • More serenity and concentration in everyday life.
  • A better ecological impact.

We’re in ! What do you think about it ?

Thanks to GlobeSailor, we were able to make these tutorials !


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