3 Ways Japanese People Compost Without a Garden

Compost is in the spotlight in Japan! Japan currently has 6.12 million tons of waste each year, so it’s great that one of their eco-friendly activities - compost is starting to gain attention. You may have heard of the Japanese bokashi composting, it's time to learn about the three other sustainability initiatives that Japan is doing in the compost space.

Barriers for Japan 🗻

Japan tokyo streets

Houses and plots are much smaller in Japan than they are in Western countries, so outdoor compost bins aren’t a realistic option. Luckily the Japanese have found innovative ways to compost without a garden. Composting also needs to be user-friendly and convenient for it to really take off in Japan.

LFC Compost

Eco-friendly japanese compost system

Despite Japan’s barriers to compost, there is hope! In 2020, a Japanese company created Local Food Cycling (LFC) Compost as a household solution. The LFC Compost Set holds food scraps and materials. It helps to cut down on household food waste in a cool way! The waste gets composted to create soil that is then used to grow vegetables that can be eaten at home!

Sustainable Japanese composting system

The LFC Compost Set comes with two special bags and some starter soil to make this all happen. The inner liner holds the soil and is reusable. The outer bag stops water and bugs from entering. The soil speeds up the decomposition of waste and cuts down on nasty odors. Altogether, it’s magic in a bag!

Environment U-Friends

Japanese people composting in the garden

The community is coming together to increase compost awareness. One non-profit organization called Environment U-Friends is made up of about eighty volunteers. They work to collect food scraps from local households. While this group first started out as town hall employees, housewives, and farmers, the group has expanded to all ages young and old. This is all because the group showed that collecting food scraps could be a fun and enjoyable activity!

 

Food U-Turn Project

Eco-friendly Japanese compost system

In central Japan, another community created the “Food U-Turn Project” in 2002. In the town Ikeda, Fukui Prefecture, this project focused on collecting food waste from homes and turning it into compost for agricultural use. The food scraps are mixed with cow manure and rice husks. It is then sold as a product called “Dokonjo.” This is roughly translated as “soil with soul,” which is so true! The soil is sold to farmers in Ikeda to use to grow crops, truly giving it a soul and a new life.

Compost organic soil

Food U-Turn Project has helped to bring more environmental awareness to local town residents. The town mayor Jun Mizoguchi explained

“We started this project not for the purpose of reducing garbage, but rather for agricultural purposes such as making good compost. However, after the media picked up on the project, people started to feel proud and began paying attention to the town and the natural landscape.”

Looks like Ikeda is headed in the right direction with composting!

Doraemon cheering for compost

Japan’s local communities are doing a great job of creating awareness around composting. Though it may take time for composting to become mainstream across the country, every big change has to start small!

If you would like to learn more about how people / other countries compost around the world, check out this blog post. It covers everything from international composting to eco-friendly activities in San Francisco, Bangladesh, Austria and Africa.

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