Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

August 30, 2005


Town's Unique System Recycles Organic Waste, Issues Local Currency

Keywords: Environmental Technology NGO / Citizen Reduce / Reuse / Recycle Renewable Energy 

A nonprofit organization known as the Ogawa-town Foodo Application Center ("Foodo" for short) conducts nonprofit environmental conservation projects under contract for local businesses and the local government. It publishes information on the related issues and offers opportunities for the public to learn appropriate technologies. Its aim is to establish a sustainable society by recycling local resources and reducing impacts on the natural and social environment.

In 1992, NPO Foodo in Ogawa Town, in Hiki Gun, Saitama Prefecture, built and started operating a biogas plant and on a trial basis started supplying local farmers with fertilizer, a byproduct of the process. Based on the trial, a project to recycle food waste into fertilizer and biogas began in the plant in 2001, with cooperation between the local government, residents and the NPO Foodo.

This system can save 20 yen (about 18 cents U.S.) per kilogram of food waste (the cost of incinerating one kilogram of organic waste is 32 yen, while the cost of recycling is 12 yen). Households that provide their food waste receive a form of community money named "Namagomi Coupons" (in English, "Organic Waste Coupons"), which can be exchanged for local vegetables at a vegetable market held twice a year. Farmers who accept the coupons can later exchange them with the town's government for the equivalent amount of conventional money.

The number of households participating in this project has been rising steadily: 14 in September 2001, 56 in September 2002, and 100 in April 2003. As the number is expected to keep growing, the community currency system needs to be bolstered further. The total amount of organic waste of Ogawa Town is about 1,600 tons per year, meaning that up to 30 million yen (about U.S.$280,000) of community money could be issued.

Posted: 2005/08/30 10:41:40 PM
Japanese version