Sunday, 10 May 2009
My sister has pointed out to me that in the global fight to preserve natural resources by reusing and recycling, Japan with its wrapping culture does not seem to be doing its bit. It's a fair point. Whilst most regions in Japan do have some pretty comprehensive recycling programmes, half of them wouldn't be needed if products weren't overwrapped in the first place. Things are getting better though. Five years ago I would go shopping with my Asda Bag for Life but shop staff would refuse to let me put my purchases in the bag without wrapping them first. Earlier this year however the goverment persuaded most supermarkets to charge 5 Yen for a plastic bag and to start a 'My Bag' scheme, persuading customers to bring their own. Then coffee shops began 'My Cup' schemes whereby you could take along your own insulated cup.
More expensive shops continue to resist though. The staff at the Yohan bakery can be persuaded to put bread rolls of the same type into one plastic bag instead of in indivual bags (as above) but they still want to give you extra paper bags, plastic ties, and greaseproof papers. And put them all in a large carrier.