Since the period of high economic growth, the custom of mass production and mass consumption has taken root in Japan, and a large amount of waste has been generated. As you know, garbage itself places a heavy burden on the environment, so the government has been implementing activities to reduce waste emissions, known as the 3R. (Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific) The 3R is the “3 R”, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
“Reduce” means not buying garbage in the first place. For example, when you go shopping, you can bring your eco-bag or my bag to avoid getting a plastic bag. This has recently become a practice in Japan. In the past few years, I have been going shopping with an eco-bag every time.
Using eco-bags contributes to the reduction of plastic bags
“Reuse” is the reuse of what you bought and use repeatedly without throwing it away immediately. In the process of sorting garbage, you may feel that you are contributing little by little. I also take care when separating garbage. Also, I see people who have been buying and selling using the online market called “Mercari” recently. It is a market intended for reuse.
Sell or donate clothes you no longer wear at reuse shops
“Recycle” is that I think recycling is a field that people who Japan are not good at. It is to reuse waste as a resource and reuse it as a material for similar or different products.
Collected PET bottles are recycled as reusable resources
Unnecessary clothes are exported and recycled, but 40% are discarded
What do you do with clothes that you can no longer wear because they are old? Are you throwing it all away? I often take clothes that I can no longer wear, such as children’s clothes, to a thrift store and have them reused. Thrift stores seem to throw away clothes that cannot be reused, so I have rarely heard of stores that recycle them.
Many clothes from North America, Europe, or Australia go to countries like Ghana or India. That’s about 60 percent. People in Ghana and India recycle their clothes. However, the reality is that the remaining 40 percent of clothes are thrown away and washed away by the sea and rivers.
60% of unwanted clothes from North America, EU and Australia are exported to Garner and India for recycling, but 40% are discarded
About 76% of clothes that are no longer needed in Japan are discarded
Today, if you enjoy the trendy clothes of the time, you can immediately throw them away and buy the next one. In developed countries, clothes are made immediately and thrown away immediately. It’s the same with Japan. However, about 11% of the total Japan is recycled and 13% is reused. This is a big difference compared to other countries. Although companies and governments are promoting “3R” initiatives, in Japan I feel that they are not yet as active as overseas.
If we easily throw away a lot of clothes, garbage, rivers and seas will become dirty. This has various effects, such as the loss of places for fish to live and the entry of harmful substances into our bodies when we eat contaminated fish. In addition, the water we drink will also become dirty.
About 24% of the manufactured clothes are recycled and reused, but 76% are discarded
Plastic litter destroys marine environment
OCG staff cleaning up the beach
Let’s live with the 3Rs in mind. That action leads to environmental improvement!
It comes back to us humans. Environmental problems are the accumulation of small actions of each of us and affect us for better or worse. It is unfortunate that each and every one of us in Japan is still not interested in environmental issues. I strongly want to think more about what we can do. To that end, I would like to look back on my daily life and work on the 3R.