Jul 6, 2018

Recycling more than ever, but creating more trash than ever?

This morning I read Jackson's post about why he doesn't like bentos, and one of the reasons he mentioned was all of the excess plastic packaging they generate. It's something that I've really noticed since I've lived in Japan as well - not just for bentos, but for a whole host of things that don't really need plastic packaging. Bananas, for instance! They come with their own protective skin courtesy of Mother Nature, but at Japanese supermarkets they're always wrapped in plastic in bundles of 5 or so. I've even seen them plastic wrapped individually, which boggles the mind a little bit.

Recycling more than ever, but creating more trash than ever? photo

Convenient, or unnecessary and wasteful? My vote goes to the latter.

My family and I recycle here in Japan more than I think we ever have. Back in Australia, most households have one large bin for general trash, and one for recyclables (plastic, glass, and paper), but I feel like most households aren't really all that diligent on the recycling front and a lot of stuff that could be recyclable just ends up in the general trash bin. In our local community here in Japan, we have three different trash bags required for our three types of trash - burnables, non burnables (glass/cans), and plastic trash - so we're always separating things out so that they're collected on the right days. In saying that though, I feel like we accumulate more trash than we ever have elsewhere, in part due to the amount of unnecessary packaging things have here.

I can't count the number of times here where I've opened a packet of something, and then had to open another packet inside to get to the actual item I need. I feel like the only solution is to decrease the overall amount of plastics (or other unnecessary wrapping/packing materials) used - even if I'm recycling more than ever, it doesn't really seem to be making much impact if there's so much stuff that gets unnecessarily packaged.

Anything more ridiculous than plastic wrapped bananas that you've seen here in Japan?



After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!


  • KevinC

    on Jul 6

    Really wish the egg carton in Japan uses paper instead of plastic. :(

  • genkidesu

    on Jul 6

    @KevinC oh yes...that's true! I just thought back home to Australia and they're all paper there. It's sad that I don't even notice these days just how much is wrapped or packaged in plastic here.