Case Studies of Business Recovery in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, 2019-2020

utilizing the roots of trees felled to open up the mountains. At the time, I heard the townspeople using the word biomass as well. I wondered what was going on and realized that Amita was behind it.”It was a mysterious encounter linked by the keyword “biomass.” Oikawa recounts the peculiar bond that was formed. “When I spoke with Mr. Sato from Amita, I realized we shared a lot of the same views. Looking back now, that meeting was essential.”Delivering raw waste toBIO is taking part in a cyclesurrounded by lifeWith the full support of Amita, the town of Minamisanriku formulated the Bio-mass Industrial City Concept as its reconstruction plan. In July 2014, the town signed the “Biogas Business Implementation Plan” agreement with Amita and the Minamisanriku BIO biogas facility opened in October 2015.The delivery of the raw waste gener-ated by households in Minamisanriku to Minamisanriku BIO is not a practice established as a rule in town ordinances or the like. Residents are always free to choose whether to deliver their raw waste to the facility. In addition, since fermentation processing does not work on things like fish bones and shells, those items need to be separated from the raw waste, and this makes putting out the trash more cumbersome than usual. Minamisanriku BIO manager Fujita Kazuhira explained why despite this, many residents of Minamisanriku were delivering their raw waste to the facility.“The process of fermenting raw waste leaves liquid fertilizer. This liquid fertilizer is distributed to local farms and residents with home gardens free of charge to help raise crops, and those harvests end up on peo-ple’s tables. Delivering raw waste to the BIO facility is a way of taking part in that cycle.”There is no shortage of residents who wish to take part in this cycle since they live in this “town surrounded by life.” When the contamination rate in the raw waste delivered to Minamisanriku BIO was com-pared, the figure of 2% in 2016 had dipped below 1% by 2019, according to Fujita.“Usually, contamination rates of waste delivered to facilities like this is around 10%, so this is a very low figure. What’s more, in 2016 there would sometimes be items that would never be considered raw waste like kitchen knives mixed in, but in 2019 most of the contaminants has been raw waste that is hard to ferment such as egg shells. The residents providing the waste have gotten even more accurate at sorting it.”Even so, the amount of raw waste collected hasn’t reached the planned amount. Moving forward, the facility is committed to increasing the participation rate and amount of waste collected to get closer to an operational rate of 100%.Local citizens are deeplyinvolved in operation ofMinamisanriku BIOThere are also local business partners cooperating with the operation of Mina-misanriku BIO. In addition to helping with the collection of raw waste and the distribution of liquid fertilizer, local restaurants and accommodation facilities are also providing their raw waste. All of the liquid fertilizer produced by the facility is returned to the local commu-nity, to the extent that the facility cannot keep up with demand and there is even a shortage of the substance.Children living in Minamisanriku visit the BIO facility on field trips. As well as providing knowledge about how the facility functions and the distribution of liquid fertilizer, Minamisanriku BIO makes sure to properly convey the thoughts of the local businesses helping with the collection of raw waste and fertilizer distribution, and the farms using the liquid fertilizer.The cycle that starts with putting out the trash has turned into a cultural feature unique to the townIn October 2018, a permanent waste FSC®FSC® stands for Forest Stewardship Council®, a scheme that certifies forests that are managed appropriately. FSC® aims to encourage the utilization of timber without causing the destruction or depletion of forests.MIYAGI123E8

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