The Beauty of Zero Waste: JapanLa Beaute du Zero Dechet: Le Japon

Whether I set out to explore or share my lifestyle in a new country, its native people are quick to tell me that waste free living is impossible because they do not have bulk. Yet, I always end up finding it…

Japan was no exception. Before I left for my speaking engagement at Google Japan, Japanese friends told me: “Everything’s packaged there. There is no bulk in Japan”. I come back with a picture album to prove them wrong 🙂

Enjoy, take notes and learn from our zen friends. Some of these displays are amazing and ought to be replicated in other parts of the world!

 

Soft boiled eggs, cooking in hot springs in the Japanese Alps

 

Rice (love the display!)
Marinated Cucumber
Sweet and savory baked goods

 

Rice crackers
Dried fish
Sweet Pastries

 

Large rice crackers

 

Rice cakes

 

Savories
Nuts

 

Green tea

 

More baked goods

 

Tea

 

Not sure;)

 

Chirimen jako (young salted dried sardines)
Bonito flakes

 

Skewers
Sweet pastries

 

More bonito flakes

 

Pickled daikon

 

Even more savories

 

Pickled roots

 

Spices

 

Savories

 

Not sure 😉

 

Dried persimmons

 

Glazed/marinated fish

 

Not sure;)

 

Flavored popcorn

 

Pickled eggplant

 

Peanuts

 

More savories

 

Not sure 😉

 

Pickled veggies

 

Street food, such as these vegetable buns

 

And water fountains at the Osaka airport!

As I mentioned before: Once you gain a selective vision for package-free items, you see them everywhere!

For more pictures of the bulk that I discover during my travels, check out my Twitter and Instagram feed @zerowastehome, #bulkiseverywhere.


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(FR)


Chaque fois que je m’apprete a explorer ou partager mon mode de vie dans un nouveau pays, ses habitants ont le reflex de me dire que le zero dechet y est impossible parce qu’ils n’ont pas de vrac. Et pourtant, je finis toujours par en trouver…

D’ailleurs c’etait encore le cas pour le Japon. Avant de partir pour ma conference chez Google Tokyo, mes amis japonais m’ont tous dit: “Tout y est emballe, rien n’y est vendu en vrac”. J’en reviens biensur avec un album photo qui les contredit 🙂


Prenez des notes de nos amis zen. Certaines de ces presentations sont magnifiques et meritent d’etre reproduites dans le reste du monde!

Comme je l’ai dit auparavant, une fois qu’on a acquis une vision selective pour le vrac, on le voit partout!

Pour davantage de photos sur le vrac que je decouvre lors de mes deplacements, jetez un oeil a mon compte Twitter et  Instagram @zerowastehome, #bulkiseverywhere

Chaque fois que je m’apprete a explorer ou partager mon mode de vie dans un nouveau pays, ses habitants ont le reflex de me dire que le zero dechet y est impossible parce qu’ils n’ont pas de vrac. Et pourtant, je finis toujours par en trouver…

D’ailleurs c’etait encore le cas pour le Japon. Avant de partir pour ma conference chez Google Tokyo, mes amis japonais m’ont tous dit: “Tout y est emballe, rien n’y est vendu en vrac”. J’en reviens biensur avec un album photo qui les contredit 🙂
Prenez des notes de nos amis zen. Certaines de ces presentations sont magnifiques et meritent d’etre reproduites dans le reste du monde!

 

Comme je l’ai dit auparavant, une fois qu’on a acquis une vision selective pour le vrac, on le voit partout!

Pour davantage de photos sur le vrac que je decouvre lors de mes deplacements, jetez un oeil a mon compte Twitter et  Instagram @zerowastehome, #bulkiseverywhere

  1. Blog Consommons Sainement says:

    March 5th, 2016 at 11:48 pm (#)

    Bravo pour ces photos magnifiques ! Je ne pensais pas non plus que le vrac était si présent au Pays du Soleil Levant !
    Aline, blog Consommons Sainement ( consommonssainement.com )

  2. patriciaa says:

    March 6th, 2016 at 1:29 am (#)

    Même si le vrac existe au Japon, c'est quand même le roi du plastique à usage unique!

  3. Amélie says:

    March 6th, 2016 at 4:57 am (#)

    En fait les photos sont réalistes, mais c'est après que ça se gâte. Je me souviens avoir pris des viennoiseries qui m'ont été emballé individuellement dans un sachet et après mis dans un autre sachet…. c'était une vraie lutte pour ne pas avoir de sachet… au prochain voyage j'apprends à dire pas de sachet en japonais avant de partir 😉

  4. texmex says:

    March 6th, 2016 at 7:37 am (#)

    Ouah et on a envie de prendre l'avion tout de suite. Bon je vais me faire un bon thé vert et préparer mes dim sum vapeur pour midi 🙂

  5. Jinny Yun says:

    March 6th, 2016 at 7:59 am (#)

    I love how you can see the positive side of things.. I have hard time doing that since I started zero waste living.. I need to work on seeing the good side not the bad.. Thanks Bea!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    March 6th, 2016 at 10:08 am (#)

    I love your photos, and you are right, there are a lot of things that CAN be bought without packaging, but they are usually not the kinds of things I'd eat regularly. Many of the things you photographed are highly processed, and are fried or high in salt, chemicals etc. I live in rural Japan, and fight a constant battle to escape from food stores with as little plastic as possible, but for basics, it is almost impossible. There's NOWHERE (in my rural city) where I can take my own containers and fill them with staples. EVERYTHING comes in a bag or plastic container of some kind. And some products are wrapped multiple times with plastic trays inside to spread the product out and make it look bulkier. Vegetables at my local farmers' market, where I try to shop for fresh food, are all already covered in plastic and in some cases they are sitting on a foam container. Good news is, there is a recycling system that will take much of it back and reprocess it. On the other hand, most people are not determined packaging refusers. (I always get strange looks when I refuse the packaging that I am able to refuse). Some local supermarkets are now making people pay for plastic bags, but most people still continue to use them. I make a point of saying clearly for all around me to hear, 'I don't like plastic packaging', every time I am offered a plastic bag, and produce my own market bags. Doing this might help raise some awareness, but most people just don't seem to even think about it. Similarly, some store workers will get into trouble from their employers if products leave the store without the official bag, complete with logo advertising the company on the front. I don't want to be responsible for getting anyone into trouble with their boss, so sometimes I just have to accept the packaging and try to reuse it several times myself. A national chain selling staple products in bulk would be awesome, but I think it's quite a way away, and most local stores are afraid not to prepackage things for reasons of hygiene. Japanese shoppers are notorious for expecting things to be clean and in perfect condition, especially in supermarkets. Frustrating!

  7. Anonymous says:

    March 6th, 2016 at 4:57 pm (#)

    I know exactly what you're talking about. It's really difficult – especially if you're shopping for basics. I'd been working for an organic farmer in the South of Japan and had to put 6 potatoes or 1 daikon in a plastic bag. My host mum told me that especially the old ladies want to buy clean and pretty veggies and she agreed with me how silly it is that we have to put the vegetables in plastic after we try to keep them away from chemicals during the process of growing them.
    After I came back to Germany I sent pictures of a local vegetable market where everything is sold in bulk. I just had to. 😉
    While people would agree with me and complain about all the waste (especially the one that is laying around on the side of the streets in rural Japan – smostly soda and beer cans), they'd still accept packaging. It's just very hard to make change in Japan.. we should start with opening a bulk store.

    Nika

  8. Le loir dans la théière says:

    March 6th, 2016 at 2:51 pm (#)

    la dernier fois que je suis allée au japon, du vrac j'en ai trouvé partout et encore plus à la campagne qu'en ville . le hic c'est que la courtoisie japonaise emballe, remballe, re emballe …. et que beaucoup adorent la derniere cochonnerie à la mode jetable . là bas , donner une seconde vie à un objet ou aimer les trucs anciens n'est vraiment pas valorisé . ce qui plait c'est le neuf .

  9. Anonymous says:

    March 6th, 2016 at 10:56 pm (#)

    Have you seen the video of a zero waste village in Kamikatsu, Japan?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eym10GGidQU

  10. Anonymous says:

    March 7th, 2016 at 4:53 pm (#)

    Thanks for the link! Great watch!

    However, it seems to me that the real effort made here is going from burning waste to recycling it thoroughly, which is at first a great step. Japan has a very neat recycling system and – as can be seen with this town – we have always to remember that change is most effectivly boosted in local communities where people feel a sense of communal responsibility.

    But if we look at the amounts of produced waste to recycle and when keeping in mind the 5-R-hierarchy (Refuse-Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Rot), this town has started at "Reuse" and forgot the first two Rs.

    From my own experience I have the impression that people in Japan are very concious of how to deal with their waste, but they don't really think about avoiding it as much as possible beforehand. It would be less troublesome to clean, separate and bring your trash to the recycling yard, if you have less of it, wouldn't it?

    I'm just wondering.. am I the only one who thinks that this wonderful town learned how to treat the symptoms but not the origin of the problem?

    Best,
    Nika

  11. Mary Handy says:

    March 7th, 2016 at 8:35 pm (#)

    We're in Idaho. My husband and I discovered Zero Waste a few months ago and read your book from cover to cover. We nearly drank it since I'm an aspiring minimalist, health nut, and we both love sustainability. We share our knowledge wherever we can. We've cut our garbage in half. The last half will be the hardest to cut. But it's mostly disposable baby diapers and I think we're ready for potty training. But we're confident that as we fortify ourselves with the tools and develop systems, we can nearly eliminate the rest of our waste.

@ZeroWasteHome Instagram