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What suggestions do you have for reducing the amount of garbage that gets thrown out each day?

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It looks to me that a large proportion of garbage consists of plastic bags, other packaging and PET bottles.

Ask the lady in the supermarket not to put things that are already packaged into a plastic bag and then put this into another plastic bag. In fact, it might be an idea to invest ¥100 in a "mybag" and insist on doing your own bagging.

Use refillable containers for water, rather than PET bottles.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Careful planning with food buying and bring your own bags to reduce the packages which is why we try and buy our veg at the local shops.

It sad how much food is thrown away by less than 15% of the global population while the other 85% struggles to put food in their bellies. Food is now discarded for being the wrong shape, color or size. We don't usually thrown away any food and just turn them into soups or bases for other dishes.

In America and Britain there are cafés/restaurants serving meals from the thrown away foods and the customers pay what they think. Would like to see that happen here too!

Take the packaging back to the store for recycling.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Most of our local shops no longer provide free bags, so most people bring their own eco-bags.

Really has reduced our plastic rubbish that gets thrown. Now if we could past the double and triple wrappings on goods it would really help.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There needs to be a packaging law. So many things in Japan are totally over-wrapped.

Instead of throwing things away, many things simply never needed to exist in the first place.

Instead of recycling, many things need to simply be reused. To aid this, uniformity of reusable items should be law so that X company and Y company don't need specific returns of reusable items.

And there should be a composting bin at the local garbage drop off point.

My main concern is less the amount of garbage, and more the amount of garbage that gets burned.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Stop giving me a straw when I buy a pint of milk. And a plastic bag. And a tissue wrapped in plastic. And a spoon wrapped in plastic....

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Stop giving me a straw when I buy a pint of milk. And a plastic bag. And a tissue wrapped in plastic. And a spoon wrapped in plastic....

I don't take them when I don't need them.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I would say France has a pretty good idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2nSECWq_PE

Short version: "ugly" or "old" (but still edible) produce gets turned into juice or soup, with almost all of it being sold off.

Additionally, I think Japan's biggest problem, as others have said, is the over-obsessing about cleanliness and uniformity.

*Most packages don't need 3-4 layers of plastic to get to the food.

*Food doesn't need to come with all those plastic "grass" dividers or the cupcake wrappers for a dollop of potato salad.

*Department stores (and upscale supermarkets) should be REQUIRED to sell the "ugly" fruit and vegetables, even if it's just a fruit/veggie stall near by. As it is most just throw them out right off. We're talking a red apple with a single bruise or discoloration.

*Japanese need to be thoroughly educated on the "best by" dates on food. This does NOT mean that magically the food can't be eaten after that date.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japanese need to be thoroughly educated on the "best by" dates on food. This does NOT mean that magically the food can't be eaten after that date.

Very true. Try getting a Japanese person to drink milk or eat an egg that's one day 'out of date'. You'd think they contained botulism or something.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Reduce packaging and all the silly things they give when you buy the smallest thing.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Have you seen the packaging on Japanese food/snacks ? It's literally a plastic inside plastic inside plastic inside plastic, and Japanese are so proud of their "Eco". This needs to stop! The sheep population will say "producers need to stop this", little do they realize that they're the one demanding such goods.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why did someone give me a thumbs down for saying I don't take plastic items I don't need? If I don't need a bag, I don't take it. If I don't need a straw, I don't take it. If I don't need a spoon, I don't take it. Don't take it and the need for the store to order more decreases.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Why did someone give me a thumbs down for saying I don't take plastic items I don't need?

@slumdog It wasn't me, but you responded to a person who said "Don't give me" as if he said "I take things I don't need". As any one who has ever been to a Japanese convenience store knows, if you buy one single item they will put it in a bag faster than most people can say no. They don't ask. Further, as you are looking in your wallet for change, they slip in a spoon and/or a straw depending on the item.

Yes, if you are fast and if you are thinking, you can refuse them all, or even have them take the spoons and straws and napkins back. But, people don't walk into convenience stores to be so inconvenienced. They should never give customers a bag unless the customer asks because the customer surely won't forget something like that. And any extras they should ask the customer about, because its easy to forget that you need a straw or spoon.

I also refuse these things often and I am sick of it. Sometimes I am not fast enough to tell them no. I also don't want to be given these things without being asked. And your suggestion of "Don't take them" does not quite cut it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Have you seen the packaging on Japanese food/snacks ? It's literally a plastic inside plastic inside plastic inside plastic, and Japanese are so proud of their "Eco". This needs to stop! The sheep population will say "producers need to stop this", little do they realize that they're the one demanding such goods.

Part of it is the humidity.

I bring my own shopping bags, refuse extra wrappings, refuse plastic spoons etc with ice cream purchases and take out food.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If they would stop selling the 100g packages and begin selling in larger portions per package so a family of four does not have to buy 4 or 5 packages of ground meat for one dinner it would help. I was amazed when I came here and found how much plastic trash accumulated in one day for a family of 4. It is not just meat that comes in small packages, all products come in one serving packages. The plastic trash just accumulates and you have empty the trash almost daily. Buy in larger quantities and take the portions you need and store the rest in the refrigerator in reusable containers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Crush (and anyone else really)

I find passive-agressive to be the best way when you don't want needless bags.

I always carry an eco-bag on me , usually in my backpack. When I go to the supermarket/conbini and check out I unfold the eco-bag immediately or place it on the counter with my purchases. Almost always they'll nod at the eco bag and say thank you. Usually they'll ask "You don't want a bag right?"

I recommend this if you want to avoid bags!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In fact, it might be an idea to invest ¥100 in a "mybag" and insist on doing your own bagging.

Don't shop too often in Japanese supermarkets I take it? All supermarkets in Okinawa charge 3 yen per plastic bag and they have bags available for sale or baskets (AEON) available for rent as well.

Use refillable containers for water, rather than PET bottles.

Already exist, just about every major supermarket has refillable bottles available, and water machines too.

Over-packaging in supermarkets, should be reduced, along with getting rid of all the extraneous BS that is included in the average bento.....

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yubaru,

Let me put it more simply:

I shop at Kanehide and Big for cheaper items, Ryubo for quality and San A for everyday things. Fruit and vegetables I get at farmer's markets in Ozato or Itoman. I know that they charge 3 yen per plastic bag. For the cost of disposal and the pollution to the environment, they should charge 100 yen.

Daiso and other 100 yen shops have various kinds of shopping bag, which they strangely term "my bag," regardless of ownership. These are reusable, so using one of these saves money (3 yen per plastic bag) and reduces the amount of garbage.

I realise that refillable containers for water exist. I suggested using them because, on the appropriate garbage day, at least in our area, there are mountains of PET bottles being thrown out.

Over-packaging is indeed a problem, which is why I suggested insisting on "self-bagging." It's a good idea to place your hand on the roll of thin plastic bags too, otherwise certain articles - that are already nicely packaged - get extra and unnecessary packaging.

A shop assistant was about to put a pack of tsukemono (pickles) that was in a plastic box, covered in shrink wrap. I asked her why she wanted to do that. She told me that it might spill. I picked up the pack and shook it over my head. She smiled.

I wonder why it is they put things like this that cannot possibly spill into extra wrapping when eggs are just slung on the top of the rest of the shopping.

But, sadly, I don't think logic has much to do with it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I realise that refillable containers for water exist. I suggested using them because, on the appropriate garbage day, at least in our area, there are mountains of PET bottles being thrown out.

You also do not realize that PET bottles are recyclable as well......I have a number of sets of work clothes that are made from recycled PET bottles. Just like aluminum cans, newspapers, cardboard, etc, PET bottles can and are recycled for cash.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Already exist, just about every major supermarket has refillable bottles available, and water machines too.

Which leads me to ask, if Japanese tap water is so incredibly clean, safe, and delicious (or so I'm told on a near daily basis), then why do so many people buy water here? I've asked dozens of Japanese people this question, and not once have I received a satisfatory answer.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Tessa, I can't speak for the whole of japan, but I can tell you why we, my daughter and her husband buy water. We didn't use to; a simple filter on the tap was more than adequate, we thought - and when it's just the two of us, it's still adequate. After 3/11, for a couple of days people throughout Kanto were advised not to use tap water to make up baby formula. Since then, there's no way we're going to give our little ones (or my daughter, when she's carrying/feeding a new little one) water from the tap. Better safe than sorry.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

You want to reduce garbage? SIMPLE. Privatize garbage collection and make people PAY to have their garbage collected.

A person like me pays the same taxes whether I throw out one ounce of garbage a week or ten kilograms of garbage a week.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Go back to the old style of meat and fish counters and wrap it in paper. Most people still shop day to day here don't they? Offer discounts for bulk and let them partion it themselves. Also, go back to recycled cardboard trays for these items is another option.

I love watching those ladies grab 15 or more of those little plastic bags after they check out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru-san,

With the mountains of PET bottles being thrown out, you could outfit a whole army.

I have a number of sets of work clothes that are made from recycled PET bottles.

I'm curious.

What do you do?

Cut the bottles into strips and knit them into jerseys (sweaters)?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A lot of habits of everyday life can change. The easiest ones : Shops like macdo and starbucks could disappear... unless they learn how to clean vessels instead of wasting so much single use paper/plastic cups and box for food/drinks that is not taken away. Then for take out, as many customers go there (and to supermarkets/kombinis) all the time to get exactly the same products, refilling containers should be made possible and encouraged. More vending machines could pour drinks into a cup and let the option of refilling your own container. There are already water fountains in parks, there could be some in busy streets and shopping centers. When you buy a 80 g super-phone, you should get out of the shop with only the device and accessories (and a box/bag only if you ask one) instead of getting 2 kg of explanation booklets in 20 languages (unless you want the booklets... but at this point, you have to bargain to refuse them). Single use shopping bags and double/triple packaging can be reduced greatly. Cardboard to deliver merchandises and big stuff like furniture should be taken back by delivery companies and sent back to be reused (we did that no so long ago). Printed paper and magazines should get a surtax so more people switch to electronic version.

just about every major supermarket has refillable bottles available,

In what country ? Not at all the case in Japan. Some wholesalers deliver drinks by boxes of 24 bottles propose a few choices (like beer or beer or even beer) in refillable glass bottles. For coops that deliver milk, you need to sign to get it delivered twice a week for months. Big globes of water for office fountains are also on inconvenient subscription deals. That's really limited. The refillable glass bottles for wine/beer/milk/soft drinks, what we had in the 70's, they could come back into supermarkets.

begin selling in larger portions per package so a family of four does not have to buy 4 or 5 packages of ground meat....all products come in one serving packages.

Not the case. You seem to be a newbie and/or you are feeding a family of whales... I never got a problem to buy packs of 5 kg of ground meat to make lasagna for a party, or just 50 grams for myself. That's not in the same shop. Nearly all butchers and big supermarkets sell meat in larger amounts, they propose whole fishes, half a salmon, whole watermelons, cans of 10 liters of oil, etc. And if that's not big enough, you can order easily (an acquaintance orders whole lambs, that just an email or a phone call, and at his door the next morning...). Then you get the Costco and such everywhere now. But yes, the local stores cater mostly to people buying individual portions and they have to keep doing it as that reduces waste, because most people cook for 1 or 2 (in European cities they do too, but we can't easily buy small amounts so a lot gets bad and is thrown away at home...). Pick the right supplier to minimize your packaging.

make people PAY to have their garbage collected.

That's already the case. Most people prefer paying the few yen more per item to get useless bags and to throw away everything so others will clean. They use it as an excuse "oh, I pay so I don't need to make other efforts..." @Yubaru, recycling is better than accumulating garbage, but that uses energy and water so that's still a waste. I'm thinking about the towel/spoon sets, catalogs, leaflets, fancy over packaging... that go into recycling without even being useful. Pure waste. People also use it as an excuse so they feel it's OK to throw 12 cans a day.

why do so many people buy water here?

You know well that everybody, every company, every store, all Japan has to keep an earthquake stock. And these bottles have to be renewed every year at least for PET bottles (that release too much bisphenol and such over the time). For the purpose glass bottles don't work. They could get metallic water canteens, but refilling with tap water is not great.

if Japanese tap water is so incredibly clean, safe, and delicious

That's impressive compared to water they are now getting in Gaza. But in first world context, it's average. Depending on where you live, there may be chemical stuff from the nearby plants (or damaged nuke power stations), rice paddies... It's not delicious everywhere and it either lacks some minerals or purity. For instance, it's not suitable to prepare good teas. Then, do you really go to drink in the toilet from the station in case you're away from home and thirsty ? Repeating it : I think there could be refill options at all levels.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

You want to reduce garbage? SIMPLE. Privatize garbage collection and make people PAY to have their garbage collected.

They've kind of done this in Sapporo. You pay for bags to throw out moeru gomi and moyasanai gomi. When I heard about it from an acquaintance who works for the city, I told her use fees are a good idea because they decrease waste and place the burden on the proper user. When I asked how much this would reduce my taxes, I almost made her cry.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They've kind of done this in Sapporo.

And every other city in Japan...!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

With the mountains of PET bottles being thrown out, you could outfit a whole army.

Or the whole population, which in effect is what already happens. The PET bottles are recycled, and the plastics are made into new products, including clothes.

I'm curious. What do you do? Cut the bottles into strips and knit them into jerseys (sweaters)?

So you don't understand the recycling system yet. It somewhat invalidates your criticisms.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In what country ? Not at all the case in Japan.

Many supermarkets, MaxValue, Jusco, Marunaka etc sell spring water from a dispenser, you buy a refillable plastic jug.

What do you do?

Cut the bottles into strips and knit them into jerseys (sweaters)?

A lot of T-shirts, hats etc are made of materials made from recycled PET bottles. It's mixes with other ribers usually. From a recycling site-

"It can also become the fabric in your clothes, the fiberfill in your coat, and the upholstery and carpeting around your house. In fact, recycling just five two-litre bottles can produce enough polyester for a square yard of carpet."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And every other city in Japan...!

Not here they haven't - no designated bags and garbage separation isn't taken very seriously.

You want to reduce garbage? SIMPLE. Privatize garbage collection and make people PAY to have their garbage collected.

Sounds great - but it isn't that simple. I'd guess that if people had to pay for garbage collection fly tipping would massively increase. Why pay, when I can throw it all into the mountains on the way to work? And what stops me dumping all my garbage in front of other people's houses early in the morning?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

We already pay for garbage collection with our city taxes.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Look how much wrapping there is. It's RIDICULOUS.

I know hygiene is paramount, but when you get the obasans in the local bakery buying 10 different buns, there's a line out the door waiting as the clerk individually bags every single one. Then, puts all that in a bag. If it's raining, there'll be a plastic bag to cover the original bag. Seriously.

Go to any convenience store. You will get a receipt for everything. Even a 30 yen Tirol chocolate! It's absurd. Then we have the disposable chopsticks in most eateries, paired with disposable wet towelettes. Just so much wastage everywhere you look.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

wipeout

So you don't understand the recycling system yet.

No I don't. Not EVERYTHING about it. That's why I asked a question. Instead of answering it you criticise me.

How do you turn PET bottles into clothes?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Agent Smith was right. Humans are parasites. Polluting this planet until it tips over the edge and is uninhabitable. Welcome to the real world "suckers".

http://grist.org/news/ohio-fracking-company-owner-faces-federal-charges-for-dumping-wastewater/

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

BertieWooster,

First the PET bottle is ground up into fine bits and then more and more until they can make thread out of it.

I used to have a really warm pair of gloves made of PET bottles and a friend had a shirt of the same material.

Here's a YouToob link: http://youtu.be/zyF9MxlcItw that explains it more completely.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What suggestions do you have for reducing the amount of garbage that gets thrown out each day?

This is Japan we are talking about - answering this question is like shooting fish in a barrel!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We already had the habit - back in France - of bringing our own shopping bags. They're not that "young" anymore but were certainly made "to last" ! At our friendly neighbourhood supermarkets over here, they always ask if we need "ohashi", straws or plastic spoons/forks etc. so it's very easy to refuse, as I always do saying we have plenty of them at home..

@cleo : I perfectly understand your concern... My dog died of cancer after drinking "TEPCO" water for two years...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How do you turn PET bottles into clothes?

Next time ask before making an arse outta yourself and commenting about things you dont know about. PET bottles can and are recycled for cash. Granted one would need literally a ton of them to make any cash but many people DO do it.

Many products that are made from PET bottles have the PET bottle mark on the label showing that they are produced from recycled bottles.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@Yubaru

I usually like your comments and try to thumb you up whenever I can however, this time I think you went a bit too far in your criticism... Many people DO know what happens to PET bottles but NOT everyone does ! BertieWooster made a "joke" out of it but he also DID ask how it was done...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

LESS PLASTIC PACKAGING, PLEASE.

I do not need for by biscuits to be individually wrapped and then placed inside a sleeve and then in an outer packaging.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What suggestions do you have for reducing the amount of garbage that gets thrown out each day?

Take the initiative - burn the plastic from your individually wrapped prunes at home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru,

I resent your inappropriate language and insult.

You wrote:

making an arse outta yourself

It is very out of place on this forum.

And thank you borscht. Your answer and link were very informative.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@BertieWooster

No I don't. Not EVERYTHING about it. That's why I asked a question. Instead of answering it you criticise me.

Actually I did answer your question, so let's not get emotional.

I also said that you don't understand the recycling system - which, in relation to PET bottles is certainly true, as you acknowledge yourself - and the criticism of you was reasonable: if you haven't got the faintest clue what happens to PET bottles when they are recycled, how are you in a position to criticize the way they are disposed of?

On the other hand, there is nothing to stop you from finding out for yourself, and there are more reliable methods than asking here. You want to know what percentage of PET bottles are recycled in Japan, and whether it's ahead of or behind other countries? Using the Internet for that will take about 35 seconds of your time. Reckon you can spare it?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@BertieWooster

No I don't. Not EVERYTHING about it. That's why I asked a question. Instead of answering it you criticise me.

Actually I did answer your question, so let's not get emotional.

I also said that you don't understand the recycling system - which, in relation to PET bottles is certainly true, as you acknowledge yourself - and the criticism of you was reasonable: if you haven't got the faintest clue what happens to PET bottles when they are recycled, how are you in a position to criticize the way they are disposed of?

On the other hand, there is nothing to stop you from finding out for yourself, and there are more reliable methods than asking here. You want to know what percentage of PET bottles are recycled in Japan, and whether it's ahead of or behind other countries? Using the Internet for that will take about 35 seconds of your time. Reckon you can spare it?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Double standards JT ? This is the nth time I have seen other posters comments posted twice but if I just want to add something to my previous comment, it is always "blocked"...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

wipeout,

This seems to have become unnecessarily complicated.

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough.

I didn't criticise the way PET bottles were recycled. I expressed surprise at the huge amounts of PET bottles left for collection. I suggested that reusable containers be used rather than recycling PET bottles.

I was surprised that clothes can be made from recycled PET bottles. I didn't know this. Now I do. I thank you and others for pointing this out to me.

I would have thought that it would be more efficient to make clothes using the same material and for people to use reusable containers rather than recycling PET bottles. Surely recycling uses extra energy.

And please, let's try to be a little more tolerant. We are here to exchange ideas, not to criticise each other.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FizzBit,

Do you mean that tonight (Saturday) is the time we should dook it out?

I think this thread is just a whole lot of garbage :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Our City also has a campaign going to reduce burnable rubbish by 300gm month/household. We can claim back money for bought composters, food shredders and similar.

My city can burn plastics so many toys, etc go up in smoke, plus they are upgrading our green centre.

People are surprised when they stand next to the rubbish burning centre and can't smell anything.

They even pick up still use able clothing, etc once a week.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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