Japanese soccer fans attracted plenty of praise at the World Cup last month when, having watched their team lose to Ivory Coast, they diligently cleaned up their trash from the stadium. Whether you think these supporters’ actions show how important it is to Japanese people to be considerate of others, or just good old-fashioned common sense that applies wherever you are in the world, everyone (well, almost everyone) agreed that taking your rubbish home with you is A Good Thing.
This week, however, Japanese Twitter users have breathed a collective disappointed sigh as photos of the trash left in the streets after the world-famous Sumida River Fireworks Festival show some people in Japan aren’t as super-considerate as we’d like to think. Is Tokyo an exception to the rules? Or is Japan’s reputation as a super-clean nation undeserved?
Is Japan’s recycling system the most complicated in the world? It sure feels like it sometimes. Household waste must of course be separated into burnable and non-burnable, but after that there’s a dizzying array of recycling categories to break your non-burnables into. Since Japan is a relatively small country without masses of land to use for burying waste, the vast majority of waste used to be incinerated. However, with increasing ecological awareness in the 1990s came new legislation to minimise the amount of waste being burnt, and promote recycling.
Public awareness of the need to recycle is high, but the system can be baffling for new foreign residents. The problem lies not only in the array of recycling categories, but also in the apparent overlap between them: the grey areas. Is an empty pizza box considered recycled paper? Or is it burnable? Paper packages? “Other”? And if a bottle is made of a different type of plastic to the standard PET, is still a “pet bottle”, or is it just “plastic”?
Today we bring you six reasons to learn what goes in what box, and a few hints for getting it right along the way.
Another winter Comiket has come and, unfortunately, gone. Though we have to say that fans probably welcome a break after a few days of hustling from booth to booth, and the convenience stores are most definitely glad for some respite. On the other hand, we can only imagine how overwhelmed the cleaning crews must be right now.
If only more fans were more like this sexy, young gentleman; the cleaning crews’ work would be cut by half!
When life give you lemons, make lemonade. When it gives you soggy trash…make a trash man?
As much as it might sound like a speech that one of those creepy, smile-flashing, tracksuit-wearing guest speakers might have given at your school when you were a kid, it genuinely is cool to be seen cleaning up your town in Japan right now.
In a joint venture between Garbage Bag Artwork and Columbia Sportswear Japan, a range of artistically-designed garbage bags has been launched, along with a swanky new website that aims to encourage both local groups and handsome folks like you and me to get out and clean up our towns. Read More
Japan is known for being one of the cleanest countries in the world, surely a point of pride for many Japanese people. But is it enough to pull a knife on someone for littering?
Last month, Tokyo police arrested a 60-year-old man for threatening a female high school student with a knife after they threw their trash on the ground of a public park.