Sep 22, 2018

Green for all the wrong reasons

I honestly don't know how to become more eco-friendly while living here in Japan.

I am separating my trash and putting it out on the correct days. The garbage companies have made it too inconvenient for me to buy things made of glass, like those bottles of instant coffee or even medicine bottles, because of how hard it is to get rid of (I can never remember the rare days when they actually pick up glass).

Green for all the wrong reasons photo

And really, when thinking socially, I think this tactic is actually the best option for people like me.

Sure you can put up your environmental awareness posters around me. I may or may not read them. There could be hundreds of commercials on TV about the importance of recycling or the Five Rs (can YOU name them all?) and it would probably not be cost effective.

Green for all the wrong reasons photo

BUT, put down simple rules to follow, like not picking up garbage except on certain days, and people (I) will listen.

Recently I got rid of an old refrigerator. Normally, when you go buy a new one, you can exchange your old one for a low price or even get a discount on the new one. This is a great system that prevents people like me from dumping our old equipment on the side of the road in the mountains somewhere (I have never done that, but have seen piles upon piles of old TVs, fridges and any big furniture, just lying there, being useless).

Unfortunately for me, I wasn't looking for a new fridge. We had two fridges around and this one had been in the house, broken, acting as a slightly complicated table for the microwave (perfect height though).

This fridge was made by a company called NEC (yeah, haven't heard of it either) and as such, did not fall into the same categories as other, more well-known brands like Panasonic and Hitachi. When you bring those brands in, it's quite a painless process and probably will only cost you about 3000 yen. This NEC brand fridge, however cost us around 7500 yen to get rid of. And we even rented a truck to bring it to the store! The nerve of some places!

Green for all the wrong reasons photo

Unfortunately I don't think that there is much I can do personally to increase my eco friendliness without a major overhaul of my lifestyle. I do things like bring my own “my bag” to the grocery store, so that I don't have to spend 2 yen on their bags. But then I run into the problem of not having trash bags to line my bins, resulting in me buying bags separately. Is that eco? I don't know.

I also bring my own thermos to work, so that I don't have to use paper cups or disposable things. This, again is just to be cost effective and has nothing to do with being “green”.

I guess the old saying counts when making the masses conform to the standards of the new age. “Hit them where it counts. Their wallets”.



European living the Japanese dream in Kansai