When new emissions regulations forced the village of Kamikatsu, in south-west Japan, to shut down its two incinerators, it had to change the way it managed its waste.
"We were no longer able to burn our rubbish, so we thought the best policy was not to produce any in the first place," said Sonoe Fujii of the village's Zero Waste Academy.
In 2003, the villagers made a declaration that their town would be Japan's first zero waste community.
In Kamikatsu, household waste must be separated into no fewer than 34 categories before being taken to a recycling centre where volunteers administer firm, but polite, reprimands to anyone who forgets to remove the lid from a plastic bottle or rinse out an empty beer can.
"We're still some way from reaching our zero waste goal, but the difference is amazing compared with a few years ago," said Yasuo Goto, a 75-year-old retired farmer who works part-time as a caretaker at the centre.
You can read more here, if you like. (Thanks for the link, Ian!)