Eco Friendly Hacks I adopted from Japan.
After moving to Japan, I have seen first hand how much more environmentally conscious people here are.Okay maybe they are not concious, it’s just an ingrained way of life. Either way, I have made a list of some common everyday things that we can do to help reduce our carbon footprint the Japanese way.
1. Carry a hand towel
Almost all Japanese people carry hand towels, you will find when you use a public restroom, often enough many don’t have paper towels or hand dryers. That is because most people carry hand towels not only does this help cut down on paper waste but studies have shown hand dryers tend to blow those germs all over the place and the electricity they waste….Plus you can wash and reuse hand towels in Japan there are sooo many cute ones to choose from too so win – win
2. Wear Heat Tech/ Cool Tech Clothing
In the summer and winter months, it is common for Japanese people to not use the air conditioners until absolutely necessary. So, how do you keep from freezing to death or sweating all over the place in the mean time?
During the winter, heat tech clothing keeps you nice and warm . Usually heat tech is worn under your normal clothing like turtle necks, work shirts and tights. It may be even more useful for women in the work place when someone always wants to keep the air conditioner on full blast
Cool Biz is soo useful during the summer. The fabric is light weight and helps keep the sweat at bay and helps keeps you a bit cooler than normal clothing would. Many even have the added bonus of UV protection woven into the fabric!
3. Hang your laundry outside
Every wonder why people really stopped hanging their laundry outside? The suns uv rays do an excellent job of cleaning and the wind drys and leaves my laundry fresher than when I use a dryer. In Japan almost no one has dryers you can however find them in laundromats but it is the norm to hang your laundry outside.It saves energy and at the very least if you have a yard hang the sheets and blankets.We need to end the stigma associated with hanging laundry as for poor people who can’t afford a washer/dryer and make it about trying to lessen our environmental impact.
4. Grow your own food
It is common in Japan for people to have community gardens. And if there is a backyard people tend to grow vegetables like cabbage, scallions, eggplant, and tomatoes. Even school children learn how to take care of their school garden and some are even given their own tomato plants to take care of. It is no secret that nutrition education and how to prepare meals is sadly lacking state side in this obesity epidemic we can’t afford to have a generation that doesn’t know what an eggplant is much less how to cook it.
5.Shop at the local vegetable stand (Farmers Market)
When you walk into the store do you notice all the perfectly colored and shaped fruits and veggies? not a bump or scratch on them. It’s silly to demand such perfection from our food. I love shopping at the local fruit/vegetable stands called yasaiya in Japanese. You can see food that was literally just pulled out of the ground in all their lumpy bumpy real looking glory. Buying them cuts down on food waste and I find it actually tastes better. The apples actually have a flavor other than crunchy water.
Japan takes their recycling to epic portions in the eyes of an American. There are trash bins everywhere for cans, bottles and plastics, burn-able trash and non -burnable.
All cities have designated days for when you can throw away what trash. For example plastic trash maybe on Tuesday and Wednesday. Trash that can burn like food waste maybe Monday and Friday. Then another days for cans, bottles, glass, and so on. While this may seem excessive when you are used to being able to lump all your trash in the same pile and hall it off to the curb for the trash collector to dump in a landfill.
When you see the devastating impact of all that plastic on our marine life, it makes you want to do better
( please dont by anything with plastic microbeads)
7. Shop 2nd hand
I would be remiss to not point out the many recycle shops or 2nd hand stores that are amazing in Japan.
Book Off – Used Books, Manga, Comics…
Hobby Off- Used toys, collectables, action figures…
Mode Off- Used Clothing, Shoes, Purses, Watches …
Hard Off- Used furniture and electronics…
Usually you can find a lot of top notch used goods for cheap and there are many name brand clothing there too. I frequently shop there and find Axes Femme, Lisa Lisa, Milk , Anna Sui, Vivien Westwood, and H.Naoto etc usually all for under 30$….
in Japan I always buy used because the clothing are always really nice, stylish and cheap.
Its time to change our thinking! and change our lifestyles!