Sunday, May 18, 2008

This is... how I recycle

Ahh.. now if we're talking about real, every day recycling.... I could go on and on about how it's done in Japan. I've written a brief bit about recycling day in Japan on my other blog, but to go into more detail...

In Japan, everything has to be separated, even into different coloured glass. About once every two weeks, in each area, recycling day is held. It's between 6am and 8am on the day. You can't go before or after those times. Up the road from me is a vacant lot especially for the recycling day in our suburb. On the lot, different nets, bins and signs are placed for different recyclables and "non-burnables". This is everything from plastic bottles, glass, cardboard, punctured aerosol cans (god how I hate doing that!), batteries, old clothes, potplant dirt, broken umbrellas, bits of wood, anything other than food or paper scraps really. We go and put all our items into the correct area under the watchful eyes of the "volunteers" (volunteering isn't voluntary, rather a duty). It's quite a pain, but certainly does make you more responsible for your own garbage.

While throwing it away in the normal garbage may seem tempting, you can't do that either. "Burnable" garbage must be placed in a special clear, city-specific bag. The garbage is then placed out on the street in an allocated spot (everyone's together) on the morning of collection. If there is anything in there that is recyclable or non-burnable, the collectors will not take your bag. You then need to do the walk of shame and pick up your garbage, bring it home, re-sort it and wait a few more days before throwing it out correctly. A friend of mine, living in a small city in Japan, was reported by the city garbage disposal to the school where she worked, because they worked out that it was she who was disposing plastic tampon applicators! I kid you not!

BUT, if we were talking fun recycling, well, that's really what this blog is supposed to be about, though I'm off on tangents most of the time - how I recycle kimono fabrics.


So, this is how I recycle! I use old fabrics that time has forgotten and make bags and what ever else I think of. Lots of fun!

And, well, another tangent... I just got home from Tokyo. It was a real blast. I have so much to blog about - meeting Fuji Mama, the Tokyo Design Festa, my very first artist's date... but that's all going to have to wait until I get a bit of sleep. Soon I promise!

13 comments:

MarmaladeKiss said...

Gosh what a fiddle, but for the greater good .. but your poor friend!! Is Kimono material easy/cheap to come by? I was always under the impression that old kimonos' (or new ones for that matter) cost thousands?

rupr said...

I visit your blog regularly and just found out your gallery on flickr and it si awesome. I love japan design, especialy textile. Yesterday I borrowed book about sashiko and today I started my first piece.

Jenny said...

Wow!!I had no idea that is how they did it(recycle) in Japan-how interesting to read all about it and I am slightly in aew how that many people do it correctly-the volunteers must take their job very seriously! I love your recycled kimono material bags-they are awesome!

Hannah said...

What a fabulous recycling program- although it's a bit regimented. I would imagine landfill would be a issue/problem in Japan.
And how embarrassing for your friend! Poor girl

Bec said...

Hehehe, the walk of shame - well it's one way to get everyone to do their bit!! I love your kimono bags, and I'm really looking forward to hearing about Fuji Mama, the Tokyo Design Festa, and your first artist's date.

Two Peas In a Pod said...

Wow, it is so neat seeing how recycling is done in another part of the world. thanks for sharing. It really opens up you eyes and makes you wonder what everyone is doing to help keep our world "healthy". Cheers Kyla

CurlyPops said...

oh dear...the recycling volunteers (police) sound really scary!
I suppose that's why Japan always looks nice and clean. Your kimono bags are beautiful....great way to recycle old kimonos into something useful again.

Péitseoga said...

wow, that's kind of 1984ish! a little scary! and i wonder... do they really recycle tampon applicators? that have been used to, you know, apply tampons? urgh... i hope nobody has to sort through this in a recycling plant!
i do understand the glass recycling though, they are running ads here now, explaining that even one wrong bottle in the container deems the whole contents suitable only for concrete mix, they can't make bottles from it again. (i assume what they really mean is one bottle that's too dark)
your recycling is great, and so glamorous!

one little acorn said...

Sounds like they are pretty serious there and I am most impressed. The walk of shame back home with your garbage bag would be enough reason to get it right!
Love your Kimono recycled bag. Another beautiful creation.

Lisa said...

Wow, recycling is a real event there by the sounds of it (between 6 and 8) A complete world away from here where virtually no one cares in the least.

The garbage police sound really full on too, shaming your poor friend to her employer.

Maureen said...

Glad to hear about serious recycling but it does sound a bit too Big Brother to me.

Recycled bags? oh I think of your creations as using unique vintageware. Beautiful items AND a good use of something that is precious.

Juddie said...

Ha! That brings back memories! In the little Japanese town where I lived they only separated rubbish into 'burnable' and 'non-burnable' bags (although they seemed to burn most things anyway - we actually saw people trying to burn fridges and bicycles! They also had adverts on TV promoting domestic incinerators that could easily burn plastic bags and tyres....!!).

Early one sunday morning I had to interpret for my canadian neighbour when she had a run-in with the local volunteer 'rubbish policeman'. He took us to his house, where he had spread out all the rubbish from our block of flats in his courtyard because my neighbour had included cat-litter granules in the wrong bag, and he was determined to examine everything in an attempt to identify the culprit. So funny!

I love your fabrics and creations :-)

Sharon said...

Japanese recycling sounds scary! Your Kimono bags are beautiful, a lovely way of recycling!x

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