Eco Ideas

Making Every Day Eco-Friendly

Maybe you are the kind of person who thinks it's important to preserve the earth's environment, but you're not sure what you can do about it? Of course, people should do what they can in their everyday lives, right? These days the number of people in Japan who feel this way is increasing. And they figure that if they're going to save the earth, they may as well look good and have fun at the same time.

"My Chopsticks"
In Japan people generally use a pair of hashi (chopsticks) when they eat a meal. At home they use their own personal chopsticks, but when eating out, restaurants serve disposable ones made of wood. Each year people in Japan use around 25 billion disposable chopsticks. After they are used once, they are almost always thrown away. But a new campaign is encouraging people to cut down on the use of disposable chopsticks by carrying their own chopsticks with them wherever they go. The campaign is called My Hashi (My Chopsticks).


Companies have come up with collapsible chopsticks that are easy to carry around, chopsticks in a variety of attractive colors, and charming cases in which to carry them. The idea of personal chopsticks isn't so unfamiliar, since Japanese schoolchildren take their own chopsticks to school in their lunchboxes. The number of people to join the "My Chopsticks" movement is really taking off.

Trendy Eco Bags
It's becoming more and more common to see people carrying their own personal shopping bags, instead of the plastic ones provided by stores. These reusable bags are sometimes called "eco bags." Some stores even offer a discount to customers who use them, so eco bags can help to save money as well as the environment. But what's the fun in carrying a bag around unless it looks cool? Recently eco bags in fashionable designs and patterns have been appearing. These bags are so stylish that people want to show them off to their friends, even though they are made from recycled materials like fibers from plastic bottles.

Long ago in Japan, people used square cloths called furoshiki were used to wrap up and carry around products. You can wrap just about anything up in a furoshiki. In a way, they were the original Japanese eco bag.


Eco-Conscious and Fashion-Conscious
Eco bags have even stirred the interest of fashion-conscious girls in Tokyo's hip Shibuya district. These trendy girls have created bags made from recycled polyester fibers in the leopard-skin patterns that are currently popular among teens. They are even picking up empty cans from the street and organizing flea markets to recycle things. Their eco-enthusiasm is impressive, with one participant commenting: "I'm really glad I tried it. A lot of teens have an interest in getting involved but don't know where to start. I want to spread the word that eco is cool."

It's important that we make our everyday lives eco-conscious. And the most important thing of all is getting young people involved in this effort.