Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Recycling Day

Today was recylcing day and I hate recycling day! I hate getting up early in the morning, walking up the road with all my "Non-combustable" rubbish and sorting it out under the watchful eyes of complete strangers. OK, it's actually the getting up early part that I hate the most.

Wayne and I realised last night that we had to do the recycling this morning. The day comes around every couple of weeks, but we actually only go every couple of months - when our recycling bin gets full. After our day of putting together furniture, we were too tired to do the sorting, but planned to be good and get up early today. Of course, we slept in and so as usual, it was a mad rush to get there before the 8am finish. I had on my usual grumpy face. Walking home afterwards, we passed a group of bright-eyed elementary school girls looking cute in their yellow hats. They smiled at us and then commented to each other how white I was. Mmm thanks for that.

It's funny how attitudes change though. I used to think that the Japanese way of disposing of rubbish was a little backward. I looked at the way it is done in Brisbane. Everything recyclable gets thrown in the one bin, picked up by the city council and taken away to be sorted. Stress free. I've since come to realise, however, that if something isn't as stress-free, it forces you to really think about it. I'm now much more aware of what I buy and how it's packaged. It forces me to think about if I really want to buy it and makes me take more responsibility for the rubbish I produce.

I still think that Japan has a long way to go in terms of reducing it's packaging, but the country is becoming more aware. Our local supermarket has given us a card on which we get points for each plastic bag we refuse. Once the card is full, we get a discount. It works out to about 5yen a bag. There is a recently a movement of "Mottainai" (もったいない) which roughly translates to "it is so wasteful that things are not made full use of their value". It is being used to equate to the English version of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". I've seen news articles over here about groups trying encourage children to use "furoshiki", which is a square piece of cloth, traditionally used for carrying things. In the schools, these groups are showing kids how to tie the cloth to make different bags and then giving the kids free reign to see what different, creative ways they can come up with. I sometimes carry one with me and use it for a carry bag when shopping.

On this site there are some diagrams on different ways of tying the furoshiki:
http://www.env.go.jp/en/focus/attach/060403-5.html

I found this sweet little video on the furoshiki.

2 comments:

Badaunt said...

I love the idea of furoshiki, but rarely use it. Oddly though, the people I see using it the most at work are ... gaijins!

(What I really want to know, though, is where THE HELL they found that guy in the video???)

blender said...

haha, that guy is my buddy Chris, he was doing odd acting jobs in Tokyo. I had no idea he made that video though...