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Japan to ban use of plastic straws, cutlery in gov't cafeterias

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Most people complain about the use of too many plastics in just one item but what they don't know is Japan is probably no. 1 recycler in the world. Their system is very good.

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

Real men don't use straws anyway. Only women and little kids do. The only time men need to use straws is when their driving.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Japan has a huge problem with both overuse of plastic and recycling. Most of their plastic waste was sent to China, but since China has stopped accepting it the stockpiles are building up beyond control. Then, the practice of individually wrapping every single candy, chocolate or cookie in a bag produces a huge excess of plastic. You buy a bag of mixed chocolates and end up with a pile of plastic larger than the amount of chocolate.

The article states a ban on plastic straws, but does not state ant kind of alternative. Are they going to supply waxed paper straws or just no straws at all? I also noticed they will supply plastic cutlery on request, which is a huge cop out. They should be using re-useable cutlery and washing it.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

they're
0 ( +1 / -1 )

@BackpackingNepal

Perhaps you should do a little more research into that. Where does it go, what happens to it. I'll give you this much, people try to recycle, but they use it as the poorest excuse to use as much single use plastic as they want!

I applaud the effort from the government and hope it spreads to non government offices as well! Especially the bakeries. I go crazy waiting in line watching the cashier wrap 10 buns in 10 different bags just to put it in a paper bag with no handles, just to put THAT in a plastic bag!!!!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I remember paper straws. No reason for non-carbonated drinks to not be in milk type containers. Why did Meiji Milk start using a twist cap when the popular style is just fine? What do the schools do here? I know in the States in most schools its plastic everyday, with even some of the small milk containers given in plastic. Whats stupid is they serve the kids 1% milk but then offer sugar loaded chocolate and strawberry milk.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

A straw is a useful tool and the notion that all the waste in the world is because of it is ridiculous when it's about managing waste, 99% of which are not straws.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

I remember paper straws, and they worked fine. IMO, it is a very good idea to minimize the use of plastic, and to recycle. From what I have read, it sounds like a lot of the plastic we discard is breaking down into little pieces, going into the fish we eat, and then ending back inside us. It may not be a good idea to ingest a lot of plastic.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

60% of blood oil imported to japan is for plastic. As a scuba diver, I am glad japan throws it back into the sea. Recycling.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Plastic plastic everywhere. Banning straws is just one tiny scratch into the problem, hardly a hardship, yet it still pisses people off. Since I woke up 30 minutes ago I've come into contact with so much plastic - eyeglasses, toothbrush, toothpaste container, phone case, electric kettle handle, coffee filter holder, pill case, spatula handle, light switch, and on and on and on throughout the day. It's freaking everywhere. Imagine the apoplexy when it isn't just tiny conveniences like straws and bags that have to go.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

The modern world is built on plastic, including medical devices and gloves. Get rid of that and there will be plague outbreaks and contaminations. We need a smart plastic that will biodegrade after use (ie plastic gloves about 5 days after use, soda bottles about 1 day after use). Maybe UV light activated so when dumped it goes to UV treatment (but will biodegrade slower from natural UV).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The only time men need to use straws is when their driving.

Good lord. Is that when they're also using their mobile phones and shaving themselves?

The only time men need to use straws is when they're in hospital, unable to get out of bed. Are people not capable of putting mouth to cup anymore?

As children, we had bottles of milk (well, most of us. I hated the stuff). Guess what? We just drank it out of the bottle.

Nepal:

Most people complain about the use of too many plastics in just one item but what they don't know is Japan is probably no. 1 recycler in the world. Their system is very good.

REDUCING is a LOT better than recycling, especially plastic. Recycling still requires energy and time.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

So much for all those who say Japan does not care for the environment. Great move by the Abe Cabinet, again showcasing its committment to eco. With Tokyo 2020 just around the corner, Japan will show other nations how to protect the environment.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

medical devices and gloves

I don’t think anyone, well except maybe the anti-plastic fanatics (sounds like the making of a good song), is recommending doing away with essential medical or other important plastic uses. What do you see most along the roads? Plastic bottles, and in Japan, filled with urine. Plastic plates for food is just stupid.

Oh, Absolutlly NEVER drink milk with a straw, it’s just sacrilegious. Milkshakes? OK.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Now getting used to paper straws at most eateries here in Australia, although I think Maccas didn’t get the memo!

Anyway, it’s a start I guess to reduce plastic waste in the environment.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

gambare:

So much for all those who say Japan does not care for the environment. Great move by the Abe Cabinet, again showcasing its committment to eco. With Tokyo 2020 just around the corner, Japan will show other nations how to protect the environment.

5 yen per post?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@pukey2

REDUCING is a LOT better than recycling, especially plastic. Recycling still requires energy and time.

Reuse, like we all did with glass milk bottles at school and home, was best, till we realised it led to obesity.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Most people complain about the use of too many plastics in just one item but what they don't know is Japan is probably no. 1 recycler in the world. Their system is very good.

Really? What percentage of Japan's plastic is recycled? What is it made into?

Start with straws, plastic bags and plastic cellophane wrapping. I really want to know.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

So much for all those who say Japan does not care for the environment.

Ganbarre Japan - I think you need to read the article better:

Japan is lagging behind other countries in curbing the use of plastics,

Japan was responsible for the largest amount per capita after the United States,

Japan and the United States have also faced criticism for not signing the Ocean Plastics Charter, aimed at reducing the use of disposable plastic

It's good that Japan is doing something, but it is far too little. If Japan really cared, it would go further and take some real steps, instead of tinkering and making very modest steps in government canteens.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

While a small start is still a start, there's a long long way to go, to even make a dent in the plastic waste mountain.

The 5 Rs ranking - Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover - of resource / waste management, Japan's strong point is Recycle and recently Recovery has grown in importance.

The 1st, 2nd, & 3rd components need much much more attention, esp as many have noted - Reduce.

And concerning the recycling of plastic here, statistics put the amount 75+%(???) in the top group world wide. PET platics esp are mostly recycled. All this is good.

However, unfortunately well over 60+% of that non PET "recycled" plastic is burned under the quaint title of "Thermal Recycling" meaning that the heat generated is used to create steam energy, heat pools etc. So yes it's being recycled, but not how most people imagine it to be.

Priority needs to be given by the govt to Major rethinking programs, resulting in the reduction and reuse of plastics.

But Plastic Inc is so interwoven with Japan Inc & Abe Inc, that any true change will require a seismic shift in future planning.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

And where will the energy come from to heat the water to sterilize reusable cutlery and tableware? A reusable shopping bag needs to be used 5000 times to to have a smaller environmental impact than using plastic bags and that does not include the water and energy required to sterilize it after every use for carrying food.

As ridiculous as it sounds, Health Canada recommends using plastic bags to put individual pieces of fruit into before going through the checkout to reduce the use of plastic bags at the check out counter.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Most people complain about the use of too many plastics in just one item but what they don't know is Japan is probably no. 1 recycler in the world. Their system is very good.

This is utterly wrong. Which system are you talking about? Japan was exporting most of its used plastic to China since it can't recycle it all domestically and it struggling to deal with it now because China has closed its borders to most paper and plastic waste in line with a new environmental policy. Which means that Japan is facing a growing sea of plastic waste with limited capacity to process it and illegal dumping was also observed to rise. Before China stopped accepting foreign waste imports, Japan exported about 1.5 million tonnes of plastic waste a year, again most of it to China. So I am asking you again, what are you talking about?

With Tokyo 2020 just around the corner, Japan will show other nations how to protect the environment.

This is ridiculous statement as much as this measure of the government which is just useless. How could you possible say that for a nation which continues to dump radioactive water into the ocean? How could say that for a country which has such low use of green energy and still promotes nuclear energy? How could you say that for a county which continues to waste energy with an outdated society model? How could you say that for a country which continues to build poorly isolated and energy consuming buildings and infrastructures? How could you say that in a nation where single use of plastic bags is such a mess with a population which is totally ignorant about environment issues? When I go to a supermarket or a bakery, I am horrified to see how the clerks stupidly waste plastic by putting each item in a bag or to see people having access to unlimited single use plastic bags in supermarkets so that they can put items themselves already in a plastic container into a plastic bag.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

5 yen per post?

I think it's 5 yen per response as a challenge with his/her friends.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Any effort by government towards environmental benifit is a good thing. Plastic in itself is not the huge issue. It's the single use plastics that get thrown out by the tons every minute on the planet that are the problem. However when that rice cooker dies or any other appliance it needs to have a path to get recycled. The three "R's" of the recycling triangle suggest we reduce and re-use FIRST. Recyle is the last one as its the most expensive and wasteful energy wise. The first poster is so wrong about Japan being a good recycler....they are far from it. For decades it just got bulldosed into the ocean or exported. I would say Germany has made a good step in the right direction. The manufacturer is resposible for the waste...NOT the consumer. They have a taxation penalty for the waste.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A tiny, tiny, tiny step. In Government buildings and shops in Government buildings? I mean really! Oh well,

I suppose it is a start in the right directions for Japan.

Especially the bakeries. I go crazy waiting in line watching the cashier wrap 10 buns in 10 different bags just to put it in a paper bag with no handles, just to put THAT in a plastic bag!!! This also drives me mad just watching them, I have even asked them to stop putting in all my bread in individual different bags and she just smiled and kept on doing it. I was so mad, next time that happens I think I will just cancel the sale and leave.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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