Planet Of The Year: The Good News: Japan Gives Trash a Second Chance

With a barely audible whoosh, the large doors at the entrance open to a spacious glass-walled hall filled with lush green plants and the soothing sound of a trickling miniature waterfall. But the sleek municipal building in Machida, a bustling city in central Japan, is not a pristine botanical garden. The enticing entrance is merely the facade of a $65 million facility built to handle a dirty job: recycling the wastes of the city's 340,000 residents. "We collect roughly 100,000 tons of garbage a year and convert it back into valuable materials," says a smiling Kenichi Usui, a city waste-management official....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!