Plastics for recycling at Yokohama Recycling & Waste Resource Center.

Two years and 11,000 awareness campaigns on waste segregation and the City of Yokohama, Japan experienced 80 to 90% compliance by the residents of the city after implemented of a complicated 15 types of waste segregation policy.

The awareness campaigns engaged communities through various means, taking advantage of every occasion to raise awareness and teach people waste segregation requirements.

Yokohama city with approximately 3.7million inhabitants has a model waste management system in Japan with extremely high compliance rates among its residents.  Mr. Tomohiro Kamewaka, Manager for Policy Coordination of the City of Yokohama revealed that Yokohama City Resources & Waste Recycling Bureau’s annual budget represents 2.6% of the city’s 43.5 billion yen budget.

Processing of domestic or household waste, for example, the city depends on its residents to pre-sort their garbage and dispose of them in designated waste stations according to the 15 types of waste segregation.  The city’s collects the waste from 74,000 collection sites on specific days of the week based on type of waste to be collected.

The recyclables are packaged and sent to recycling center and burnable are taken to incineration where they are incinerated into ashes and taken to final disposal site.

The entire massive process is efficient and successful primarily due to a thorough public awareness campaign and community engagement that places ownership of the system in the hands of its inhabitants.

Similarly, public education and awareness campaigns  were said to take place prior to the opening of Palau’s new national solid waste site slated to open by  August of next year.  With less than a year remaining and no specific funding identified for public awareness campaigns, it remains to be seen how Palau residents respond to the new solid waste management site.