Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

October 1, 2005


Food Waste Recycled for Sunflower Oil Production

Keywords: Local government Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 


Ariake Town in Kagoshima Prefecture has launched the "Sun Sun Sunflower Plan," a program that encourages all households in the community to grow sunflowers using compost made from food wastes and to consume low-cholesterol sunflower oil produced from harvested sunflower seeds. The program, launched in fiscal 2005, serves a dual purpose for the community - to reduce the amount of garbage and to benefit the health of citizens.

Starting in July 2004, the town started to collect food waste separately and shifted its disposal from landfill to reuse by outsourcing the process of composting it to a commercial company, which turns 50 tons of food waste each month into compost. As a result, the amount of food waste discarded in landfills declined from 106 tons in May 2004, before separate collection was introduced, to 54 tons in May 2005.

During fiscal 2004, many citizens grew sunflowers using sunflower seeds and compost that were given out free of charge by the town. About 100 households which did not suffer summer typhoon damage harvested a total of 1.4 tons of sunflower seeds. An oil factory bottled sunflower oil produced from these sunflower seeds and sold it back to households participating in the program, at 1,000 yen (about US$9.09) per 900-milliliter bottle.

Participants said, "The whole operation, including seeding, weeding, harvesting and drying seeds, was not easy but it was a pleasant experience to get the golden oil produced from the seeds we harvested." The town hopes to expand the program, aiming to grow one million sunflowers within the community in 2005.

Posted: 2005/10/01 06:35:56 PM
Japanese version