Based on the experience of one of the worst pollution disasters in Japanese history (see Minamata Disease), Minamata City has been working towards establishing itself as an environmental model city, and in 1999 received ISO certification for its environmental management policies. Among the efforts are a rigorous garbage classification and recycling program (waste is separated into more than twenty categories), promotion of saving energy and reducing waste, promotion of environmentally friendly farming and fishing, protection of natural resources and the establishment of Minamata as a city for studying environmental problems.
Located just outside Minamata's city center, Minamata Eco Town is an industrial park consisting of various recycling related companies. Among the materials recycled and reused in Eco Town are used bottles, television sets, air conditioners, refrigerators, tires, used oil, plastics and sewage. While it is not possible for individual travelers to visit the recycling facilities of Eco Town, tours can be organized for interested study groups (see link below).